Pear and coconut upside down cake

This is a variation on the easy chocolate cake recipe. I first made it last week to use up some manky pears that been in the fridge a few days too long. The consensus was that it was pretty nice, although I thought it was a bit sweet and could do with some citrus notes, hence the orange. Mum thought lemon would be too strong but I'm not so sure. I'm also thinking that other possibilities might be; the inclusion of dark chocolate chips, mixing some yoghurt in with the milk (I often do this with pancakes), lowering the sugar content, cooking the pears in red wine or port, perhaps using some honey, including some other spices and or nuts. Not all at once, but one variation at a time. Anyway, I had some doubts with this cake after a fraught mixing process in which my helper tried to eat the butter and sugar before it got mixed into the cake, but once again, this cake was lovely. Even if I do say so myself.


4 ripe but not too soft packenham pears
1 navel orange
1 1/3 cups of self-raising flour
1 1/4 cups of firmly packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons of dessicated coconut
125 butter at room temperature (or softened in the microwave)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
2/3 milk
some extra butter and sugar for the upsidedowny part of the cake

Making the cake
  • Line and grease a 22cm springform cake tin. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Using a vegetable peeler or zester, scrape the orange part of the orange rind from the orange and chop finely. Discard any pieces that have white on them.
  • Core the pears and cut into eights. Add the orange juice and about a table spoon or so of sugar depending on the sweetness of the pears. Cover and cook in the microwave for about three minutes on high until the pears are just translucent.
  • Place the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric beater on high until the mixture is pale(r). It will not achieve a silky texture because of the coconut, but it should look kind of glossy.
  • Sprinkle about a table spoon of brown sugar on the base of the cake tin. Dot with thin slices of butter (less than a tablespoon all up). Arrange the pears over this, reserving the syrup for later. Cover with the cake batter and gently smooth the top.
  • Bake for about an hour or until a knife comes out of the middle of the cake cleanly. Rest for at least ten minutes before turning onto a serving plate.
  • Heat the remaining syrup in the microwave on high for three to five minutes or until it is gooey. Spread over cake, smoothing with a knife dipped in hot water if necessary. Serve with cream.

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