Pear upside down cake with sorghum, spice and everything nice

Perfect for breakfast

This a dense cake more along the lines of a coffee cake, perfect for breakfast or brunch. Those who aren’t familiar with sorghum are missing out. It’s a syrup made from a crop mainly grown in the South, at least in the states. It’s heaven on biscuits, and in cooking can be used as a fun, lighter (in flavor and color) alternative to molasses. Also, we did a test last winter, it’s slightly faster than molasses going uphill in January. For a lighter cake, reduce the flour by 1/4 cup.

Pear upside down cake

  • 8 ounces butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs, plus one egg yolk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 tbsp sorghum
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup sorghum
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch of cinnamon sugar

In a small bowl, toss pears with 1/4 cup sorghum, 1 tbsp lemon juice and cinnamon sugar. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter on medium high until light and creamy about a minute. Add in salt and brown sugar. Beat on medium high to incorporate. Beat in eggs one at a time, ending with the yolk and then the lemon juice. (Another minute or so.) Reduce the mixer speed and beat in flour and spices until incorporated. Line the bottom of a springform pan with parchment. Butter the sides of the pan and the parchment. Using a slotted spoon to drain off most of the excess juice, arrange pears on the bottom of the pan overlapping slightly in a circular pattern. Drop batter on top and smooth with a rubber spatula. It will be thick. Cook for about an hour or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
This entry was posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Recipes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to Pear upside down cake with sorghum, spice and everything nice

  1. brainrants says:

    Damn that sounds good.

  2. JamieAnne says:

    Looks quite tasty!

  3. I’ve heard of sorghum, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it for sale…or maybe I’m just not looking.
    Upside down cake looks great though… a little espresso on the side?

  4. nrhatch says:

    That looks FABULOUS! Now, I need a midnight snack. πŸ˜‰

  5. Eva says:

    I’ve never heard of sorghum, I wonder where in Toronto I might find it?

  6. rutheh says:

    Now to find sorghum. I ordered a case of Steen’s Cane Syrup once so I am sure I can do the same.
    This cake looks just lovely.

  7. joshuafagans says:

    This looks wonderful! Can’t say I am very familiar with sorghum. I love how you bring the local flair!

  8. My grandfather used to put sorghum on his biscuits in the morning. That stuff is seriously THICK! Living in the South, I always know fall has arrived when I start seeing it in the local markets.

    I bet it’s great with those spices in this cake!

  9. Carolyn Chan says:

    A slice of this cake with a nice big mug of hot tea please!

  10. Pear upside down cake? I’m totally in. I’m so in. This looks delectable and definitely something I’d love to have with a side of vanilla ice cream.. now I have a smile on my face lol.

  11. Never heard of sorghum – it sounds amazing. And I love the cake. It reminds me of my late godmother – it was the only dessert she could make πŸ™‚ but it was always great, and she did vary the topping (or is that the bottom-ing?) between apples, pears and whatever fruit she had! Happy memories.

  12. Delicious cake – if I had sorghum, I’d make it. With regards to sorghum, check out this site about the writings of H.L.Chace, a professor of Romance languages at Miami University in 1940.
    “Yonder nor sorghum stenches shut ladle gulls stopper torque wet strainers.”

  13. Sissi says:

    At first I thought you have made a cake with sorghum grains πŸ˜‰ I have never heard of sorghum syrup (I am now using often agave syrup, which apparently will not make me fat πŸ˜‰ ).
    I am sure this cake is heavenly. I love pears with nutmeg, clove and allspice. I usually add also cinnamon, but vanilla sounds like a great alternative.
    (there’s a small typo in the title, I think…)

  14. peasepudding says:

    I could certainly eat that for breakfast. I haven’t used sorghum, I dont think it is veryccommon here. Is it like a golden syrup?

  15. I’m with Sissi, thought you used the grain. Either way the cake sounds tasty and I love pears so even that more perfect for me… PS I’ve had a long day, or perhaps it’s just that English is my second language…what is this January uphill reference?

  16. I’ve never used sorghum, it sounds really interesting. We have heaps of pears at the moment from our neighbours tree and I’ve been making lots of crumbles – this would be another good way of using them up.

  17. I’m going to have to keep an eye out for sorghum, I’ve not seen it around. The cake looks delicious!

  18. Charles says:

    I think I have heard of, and tried sorghum before, although I can’t place the flavour – I’m sure I’d know it if I tried it again.

    “Also, we did a test last winter, it’s slightly faster than molasses going uphill in January”

    – wait… what? 😐

    Beautiful cake! Large slice with custard… that’s the way to go! πŸ˜€

  19. sonsothunder says:

    Looks really good, I’ll have to hold off a while at trying my hand at it, as I still have over half of the Peach Upside down cake I baked from, “Baking with Sibella’s” site this week. It was good, and is laid out much like this one, only more of a light yellow cake. I really love the dark stuff, but have no fresh pears anyway. But, I WILL BE baking it soon.

  20. Yet another great post! Looks simply delicious!

  21. This is my kind of cake! And I have pears at home from my sister’s tree! Thank you for a lovely dessert!

  22. This is my kind of cake, too, and with sorghum. I have sorghum almost every day. It is supposed to be good for you and filled with potassium and iron. It is almost time to make it in Kentucky. I have to stock up every year.

  23. I love a spicy cake and with pears too – this can only be good!
    Have a happy day.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy

  24. An Arkansas recipe? When we drove through Arkansas my husband was sure to pick up a “can” of what he considers real sorghum. This will be great for the holidays.

  25. spicegirlfla says:

    This would be amazing on a Sunday morning with a cup of coffee!! I do need to try out this sorghum as I’m not familiar using it. I’m so loving these fall dishes coming out!!

  26. Kelly says:

    Very nice – I just love the way fruit looks in upside down cakes. Sorghum sounds like a must try; happy to learn about it.

  27. Rachel says:

    Oh yum — pretty *and* tasty! I tend to forget how much I like pears… I might just give this one a try! Mmmm!

  28. Love pears so this cake is tops with me. I also like the golden brown edges.

  29. Sush says:

    oh goodness, should not be looking at this when I still have 6 hours of work to get through!

  30. Andrea says:

    This looks so yummy! I love pears!

  31. ChgoJohn says:

    I love the idea of a pear cake – up-side down or right-side up. And you certainly made a pretty one here. Thanks for the inspiration!

  32. Love it! We are in the middle of pear country here in the Pacific Northwest. That’s perfect.

  33. Pat says:

    Beautiful cake, I’d love to open my eyes in the morning to this!!

  34. Colline says:

    Would go perfectly with some afternoon tea!

  35. Amy says:

    Perfect for fall. I love cakes that are dense and moist. This looks delicious….not to mention beautiful. I’d totally eat it for breakfast.

  36. niasunset says:

    This one seems so nice and sounds so delicious but yes, I haven’t heard before this “sorghum”… I am searching now, maybe I know, I can’t find the correct translation maybe. Thank you dear Rufus, with my love, nia

  37. Caroline says:

    My ideal start to the day….dessert for breakfast. Couldn’t get much better. That cake looks moist and deeelicious!

  38. Kristy says:

    Okay – so did you really test out the molassses vs. sorghum? My kids would totally do that (and we’d be right there cheering them on!). I think I might have to investigate this sorghum stuff. I like the flavor of molasses, but too much of it and I can’t handle it. So maybe this would be a good alternative for me. πŸ™‚

  39. Rachel says:

    Yum. That looks much better than Mom’s pineapple upside down cake. But don’t tell her I said that.

  40. nancyc says:

    That sounds REALLY good! What a yummy thing to have for breakfast!

  41. Raymund says:

    Soughum sounds like a great sweetening recipe, I hope I can find one here.

  42. ceciliag says:

    We have just started picking pears so this perfectly timed!

  43. Courtney says:

    I’m another one ignorant of sorghum… but if it produces items like this cake, then I’m all in! That looks amazing!

  44. Oh does this bring back memories! Use to eat this growing up, but I am sure yours is so much more than that. : )

  45. I feel like I’ve really been missing out as I’ve never heard of sorghum. Now I’ll have to check it out and that certainly looks like a breakfast I could handle!

  46. That looks perfect! So pretty too. Do you think I could substitute Lyle’s syrup or the like for sorghum?

  47. Joanne says:

    I’ll have to try to get my hands on this sorghum. I recently did a fig upside down cake, which I loved. I LOVE upside down cakes!

  48. I just bought some pears and was thinking of doing a clafoutis or tarte tatin, now you’ve confused me with this, it sounds lovely. I wonder what sorghum is in Spanish….?

  49. ambrosiana says:

    Looks fantastic!!! I love pears …but I wish I had sorghum in Italy!!!

  50. Dang I need this NOW!

  51. I’ve never had sorghum before and after reading this recipe I’m compelled to seek out mystery ingredient. I’ll hope that Whole Foods has it. πŸ™‚

  52. Wow! Love this – pears are one of my favorite fruits and after I made that peach upside down cake recently I decided trying it with different fruits was a must. YOU beat me to it! I might have to give this a try.

  53. Lisa says:

    This looks amazing! I do have to admit my small town country is coming out again. I am used to sorghum being in feeds and never thought to use it in people food too =) Great job!

  54. That looks stunning. I’ve never used sorghum or seen it in the UK but I am on the lookout now!

  55. brambleoak says:

    Drool… now to find some pears!

  56. I love sorghum! It makes great granola bars, too. Especially with spicy fall flavors.

  57. Abby says:

    I made a gluten-free version of this yesterday for my GF dad. Just replaced the flour with Pamela’s gluten free baking mix. It turned out beautifully! (I’m a little sad I have to share.) πŸ™‚

  58. I have never heard of sorghum…will have to look it up
    The cake looks heavenly..I make pinapple, banana or apple upside down cakes…I will have to try pears next

  59. spiderpaw says:

    Homemade coffe cake is a staple in our house, so this one goes in the with the rest. Thanks.

  60. Jessica says:

    This is beautiful! Can you believe I’ve never had sorghum? I think it’s just something my family has never used, but I’ve seen it at the store. I use golden syrup (cane syrup) in place of corn syrup in recipes, and am guessing sorghum can be used the same way…I should try it!

  61. Sorghum is definitely a Southern delicacy. I have been looking for a new recipe with sorghum as an ingredient. With pears as the star, this is a fantastic fall food. You should check out my blog post about the Sorghum Festival in West Liberty KY-

  62. This looks delicious, lovely and gooey.

  63. kyoske says:

    I have been looking for a recipe for a pear cake! Thank you! Someone I knew used to make this amazing dessert called “Upside down Pear Pie” but I don’t know where the recipe is. This looks like something fun to try! If I manage, I will let you know πŸ™‚

  64. Pingback: Pear Upside-Down Cake « annashortcakes

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