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Upside down cakes are the epitome of pleasurable desserts: moistest of cakes, caramelized fruit and the option of whipped cream. This beautiful fall dessert is egg-free and dairy-free, and you’ll love making and using the Easy Caramel Sauce — just three ingredients and five minutes of cooking. Enjoy making Paleo & AIP Pear Upside Down Cake for yourself and the ones you love.
Pears and Apples
Each autumn we are given pears and apples from our neighbors and friends. Perhaps you have apples dropping in your yard or along the roads where you live? This year we were able to go to an apple pressing, too, to make cider.
These sweet fruits help to usher in the new season with excitement and frugality (SO many apples). And toppings like caramel sauce get us ready for October, Halloween and true autumnal treats!
I brought this Paleo & AIP Pear Upside Down Cake with Easy Caramel Sauce to the apple pressing, happy to share a seasonal treat.
I hope you’re taking lots of deep breaths of this fresh fall air, and have a bit of time to make this special dessert. You might even have a loved one who isn’t Paleo or AIP but who needs an egg-free or dairy-free dessert. May this pear treat add to your autumnal pleasures.
Easy Paleo and AIP Caramel Sauce
If you’re as excited about the caramel sauce in this recipe as the rest of my family, find the bigger recipe here! The recipe below makes a small portion, just enough for this cake. But when you experience just how fast it is to make and just how truly delicious and awesome it is, you’ll want to make a bigger batch right away!
For those who can’t have coconut cream, or who do prefer dairy, the Easy Caramel Sauce recipe HERE can be made dairy-free or with dairy (the Primal version), whichever you prefer.
Go forth and dip and drizzle! 😉
This cake stores well in the fridge for up to 5 days.
You can freeze it, too. Just defrost by the slice on the counter for a few hours, or overnight in the fridge.
Leftovers are great for breakfast or packed in lunches. This nutrient-dense dessert is healthy!, especially eaten alongside or after protein.
- Enjoy Pear Upside Down Cake with Coconut Whipped Cream!
- Have it for dessert, breakfast or with afternoon tea.
- Definitely feel free to serve it unadorned, with just some hot tea, coffee or herbal coffee on the side. This cake is great without any garnish because upside down cakes have the topping built in, all that caramely goodness and baked, soft fruit.
Paleo & AIP Pear Upside Down Cake with Easy Caramel Sauce
- cake pan
- 2 whole pears peeled
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- ⅔ cup filtered water
- ⅔ cup coconut butter warmed slightly
- ½ cup cassava flour , only Otto's or Bob's brands are recommended; the cheaper brands are too starchy, and the cake will not turn out; see link to Otto's in Recipe Notes
- ⅓ cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup fat of choice melted and cooled slightly, if solid fat
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon gelatin , see Recipe Notes for discount code and link
- ½ teaspoon baking soda sifted
- ¼ teaspoon dried ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Easy AIP Caramel Sauce
- ⅓ cup coconut cream
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- pinch sea salt
- Place coconut cream and coconut sugar in small saucepan. Turn heat to medium and bring to simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar.
- Once simmering, reduce heat to very low and maintain simmer for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Turn off heat and stir in sea salt. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease 9" round cake pan. Slice pears and arrange decoratively around the base of the cake pan. (This will become the top of the cake.)
- In large bowl stir together wet cake ingredients and sugar: applesauce, warm coconut butter, warm water, fat, apple cider vinegar and coconut sugar.
- In smaller bowl sift together dry ingredients: cassava flour, coconut flour, gelatin, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and sea salt.
- Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and fold together until well mixed, without over-mixing.
- Pour caramel sauce somewhat evenly over pears in cake pan. (Don't worry about spreading it evenly.) Scoop out batter and spread it evenly over the caramel and pears in the pan.
- Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove to cooling rack for 10 minutes.
- (Now: We unmold the cake while it's still warm so the caramel top and pears come away from the pan easily.) Carefully flip cake over onto plate or serving platter. (Do this by placing plate on top of pan. Hold both pan and plate together tightly and quickly flip.) Lift off cake pan. If any pears are displaced, simply put them back into place. Allow cake to cool completely.
- Serve alone or embellish with coconut whipped cream.
How did upside down cakes originate?
Two hundred years ago, when American cooks used cast iron skillets, it was easy to add fruit and sugar to the bottom of a pan and then to pour cake batter over the top. The cake slowly cooked, covered, on the warm stove top or, later in history, could be transferred to the oven. The cake was flipped over onto a large plate to show the pretty top.
This upside down stove top technique was used at least as far back as the Middle Ages.
In the early 1900s, one of James Dole’s engineers developed a machine to remove the core of the pineapple. Pineapple rings were soon canned and home cooks used the fruit year round for upside down cakes, adding cherries in the center of each ring for color. That classic American recipe was first put into print in 1930.
Upside down cakes, with any of the fruits one can grow or forage, are an American tradition that probably originated in Europe.
linda spiker says
Oh holy cow!! This looks amazing!
Susannah Shmurak says
This looks amazing!
Heather A McPhail says
YUM!!! Thank you for another egg-free recipe!
You’re welcome! So glad it’s helpful! 🙂
This is such a special upside down cake. Love that caramel sauce over the pears.
Renee Kohley says
Oh Megan! My girls will get such a kick out of this presentation! I am definitely make this! Thank you!
Thank you Renee! So sweet. I’m happy to imagine their delight! 🙂 Enjoy!
Cathy Fleischmann says
This recipe looks very inviting! Can you please advise what purpose the gelatin is serving? Can it be left out or is there an acceptable substitution? Thanks.
Hi Cathy, thanks for your question. Sure, the gelatin replaces eggs in this recipe, making it “okay” for those on an AIP or egg-free diet. My guess is you can pull it out and sub with one egg, but I haven’t done it to be sure.
New around here, this looks very nice. I see you use gelatin for eggs, how might I use an egg instead…just leave out gelatin and add in egg? thanks
Hi Jillian and welcome! 🙂 I like your question because it’s the first time I’ve gotten that one! LOL. Folks always want the opposite: how to replace eggs. Well, I haven’t made this cake with eggs, so I can’t tell you for sure. But omitting the gelatin and adding in just one egg would be my first attempt.
Can I use peptide Collagen?
Hi Barb, do you mean instead of gelatin? If so, no, you can’t. They serve different functions in the recipe. Gelatin takes the place of eggs in this recipe and holds together the crumb. Collagen in baked goods creates a more tender crumb (and adds protein). Thanks for the question! 🙂
Amy knight says
Seriously yum! This looks divine!
Thanks, Amy! 🙂
Dude… this recipe won the Internet today
Katherine Beck says
Oh my…this is lovely and would make such an awesome addition to a holiday dessert table!
I just made this and it turned out like a pudding. I allready thought the batter was too moist so i left out half of the water but it was still too moist. I think there is something wrong with the ratios.
I have had in in the oven for 45 minutes but that didnt help. Such a waste of ingredients…
Hi Janine, I’m so sorry for your experience. We make this recipe regularly, using different seasonal fruits, but with pears the most often. I don’t recommend taking out any ingredient, but it’s possible you made some other omission or change without realizing it? The recipe is accurate; having made it so often, I can say that. Is there any ingredient you substituted? Egg-free recipes need to be followed just-so without any changes. The other reason would be the brand of cassava flour. Only Otto’s and Bob’s work, so if you used a less expensive one, they are too starchy, and that would create the pudding texture.
Can i replace coconut butter with coconut oil ?
Hi Megi, no, sorry. The ingredients you mention play different roles. The butter actually functions more as a flour in this recipe.
Hi there, I’m wondering what type of pan you used? I’m using anodized aluminium and I find most AIP cakes stick horribly. Should I line the pan with parchment or would that cause issues with the caramel?
Hi Corinne, good question. I use straight aluminum baking pans (no coating or treatment on the pans), like bakeries use, because they conduct heat the best, and as long as you don’t have anything acidic (like tomatoes or lemon), aluminum is safe to bake with. But yes, using parchment to line your pan is a good option. Here’s an example of the pans I use: https://amzn.to/2VGXxPV
yolanda bodine says
Hi, I just made this and it came out great but needed to be cooked a little longer. It came out a little doughy and not as golden as the picture, so after I flipped it out, I put it back in the oven. I did not use gelatin, but substituted agar-agar, which I keep in my pantry as a substitute. Its delicious!
Hi Yolanda, thanks for sharing, and I’m glad it turned out deliciously! I’ve never tried the recipe with agar-agar in place of gelatin, so I think that’s the issue. It’s hard to make substitutions in egg-free baking. But I’m glad it still turned out great! 🙂
Meg H says
I made this recipe and the flavor was good, but the texture was WAY off in my opinion. It turned out VERY dense. My husband said it was like a too moist pound cake, which is already moist. I had given it an extra 8 minutes of baking time. One question I do have is about the coconut butter. You mention in the text of the blog that the coconut butter is partly functioning as flour. My coconut butter is dry in the jar. I added it to a pan and warmed it and it became creamy. Should I have left it dry?
Hi Meg, I’m sorry your recipe didn’t turn out correctly. The cake is not overly dense, so something else must have gone wrong/been different. You did just right with the coconut butter; it needs to be softened.
Since the coconut butter is to be like a flour in this recipe, can I use a little more flour If I don’t have coconut butter?
Hi Carrie, no, the recipe hasn’t been tested like that, and AIP or egg-free baking is too challenging to make major changes and have success.
What did you use for “choice of fat”? I used coconut oil and the texture was pudding like vs. a cake. It still tasted delicious but wondered if that could be why?
Hi Brenda, no, the coconut oil wouldn’t do that. It sounds like it’s the flour. What brand of cassava flour did you use? Brands other than Otto’s and Bob’s are too starchy, and basically act more like tapioca starch/flour in the recipe. I’ll update the recipe card itself to say Otto’s or Bob’s. All of my newer recipes say that so readers are careful. I give a link to Otto’s, but I’m sorry I didn’t leave that warning as well.