This cake has an interesting history.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember it, very well.

I got the original recipe from a woman I worked with – somewhere.  I remember her, I just don’t remember where it was we worked.  Her name is escaping me but I can see her face.  She worked in payroll/accounting.

I just don’t remember which payroll/accounting office.  It’s not exactly surprising, I guess.  In trying to narrow it down, I realized I have worked for 11 different companies since 1976 when I first started with Hyatt.  (I’m not counting the 9 jobs I had prior to that – or my military service…)

That’s quite a few jobs – and it gets even crazier when you realize how many hotels 14 of those years accounted for.  All over the USofA.  I dealt with a lot of Payroll Departments.

And I just remembered.  The Westin Indianapolis.  The last hotel I ever worked for.  She brought the cake in for something – a birthday, something, and I got the recipe.  She had made it in a 9″x13″ pan but said she made it as a layer cake, as well and as a pineapple upside down cake.  At least, I think so.  When I first remember looking at the recipe, I had scribbled illegible notes all over it – the kind of notes that only make sense that instant you put them to paper.  The moment you look up, the meaning is gone.

I have played with the recipe a bit over the years.  I’ve made it as an 8″ layer cake and as a 9″x13″ cake.  I’ve made it as a single-layer 10″ cake.

Today was as an upside down cake.

But not just any ol’ pineapple upside down cake.  Something different.

The cake itself is extremely tender and light – as one would expect from buttermilk – and I wanted a light topping to go along with it.  I had a single pear and I had just bought pecans.  The concept was there.

I also thought brown sugar was more overpowering than I was looking for, today, although it would have been a fine alternative to the white sugar I used.  I also didn’t add any additional spices to the topping – this time.

The cake, itself, is just so good I don’t think you could screw it up with any topping.

Pear Pecan Buttermilk Upside Down Cake

  • 1 1/2 cubes butter
  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp Cointreau
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 pear, cubed
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter 10″ pan. Line with parchment and butter parchment.

Mix pecans, pear cubes and sugar.  Sprinkle onto bottom of pan.

Sift dry ingredients. Cream butter and sugar until light. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and Cointreau.

Mix in flour and buttermilk in three additions.  Spread over pears and pecans. (Batter is thick.)

Bake about 1 hour, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool about 10 minutes in pan and then remove to plate.  Cool completely.

I’m going to have to keep this one towards the top of the recipe pile.  I forgot how much I like it – and how easy it is to make!

And I think next time a coconutty topping like from a German’s Chocolate Cake might really be good.

So many desserts, so little time…