This Upside-Down Pear and Grilled Miso Cake Recipe is Sweet, Salty, and Gluten-Free


This homemade upside-down cake from Aran Goyoaga, a third-generation baker, stylist, and self-taught photographer, is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.

In this simple yet visually striking cake from her third cookbook, “Canelle and Vanilla Bakes Simple,” sliced ​​pears are spread over a quickly prepared caramel base and covered in a gluten-free, miso-based batter.

The result is a cake that can be put together in a short time – for example, when an unexpected company comes along – but is impressive enough to be prepared for special occasions. A pleasant tension between the sweetness of caramel and pears and the umami of miso, a welcome showdown in the mouth that prevents the confectionery from being too sweet.

While the original cake in the book contains plums, I opted to use pears that are more seasonally appropriate and was delighted with the result. And next summer, when the plums come back to my local farmer’s market, I’ll make this cake as originally planned.


Upside-Down Pear and Grilled Miso Cake

Active time: 30 mins | Total time: 1h30

Makes: 10 servings

Storage Notes: Store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


  • 2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 medium unpeeled pears (about 1 pound/455 grams total), such as Anjou or Bosc, cored and sliced ​​1/3 to 1/2 inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons (60 grams) shiro miso (white miso)
  • 1/3 cup (85 grams/80 milliliters) whole milk (can be substituted with unsweetened plant-based milk)
  • 1 cup (200 grams) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (110 grams/120 milliliters) sunflower oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (140 grams) light buckwheat flour or sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • Finely chopped almonds, for serving (optional)
  • Heavy cream, whipped, for serving (optional)


  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 F.
  2. Place a medium stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle half the sugar evenly over the pan. As the sugar melts, sprinkle with the rest and cook until all the sugar is the color of a penny, 3 to 5 minutes. If the sugar does not melt evenly, stir it with a wooden spoon or flexible spatula. Transfer the caramel to a 9-inch cake pan, scraping the pan out of each piece. Carefully swirl skillet so bottom is coated with caramel; the pan will get hot, so be careful. If you’re missing a few specks on the bottom of the pan before the caramel hardens, don’t worry, it will re-melt in the oven when baking.
  3. Carefully arrange the pears in a circle over the caramel; put aside.
  4. In the same pan, spread the miso in a thin layer on the bottom. Put the pan over medium-high heat and cook the miso until it starts to stick to the pan, stirring it with a wooden spoon to toast it, 1 to 2 minutes. It will become dark and smoky. Pour in the milk and whisk it with the miso, as if you were making a roux. The mixture will thicken into a dark paste. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  5. Whisk the brown sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla into the miso paste until smooth. Then stir in buckwheat or sorghum flour, almond flour, baking soda and salt until smooth. Pour it over the pears and transfer to the oven.
  6. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then run a butter knife near the edge of the pan to free the cake and invert it onto a serving plate. If bits of caramel stick to the bottom of the pan, don’t worry – this is a rustic cake and it doesn’t have to be perfect.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature with a sprinkle of chopped almonds and/or a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Nutritional information per serving, based on 10: Calories: 344 | Total fat: 16 g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 259mg | Carbs: 48g | Dietary fiber: 4g | Sugar: 35g | Protein: 6g

This analysis is an estimate based on the available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.

Adapted from “Cinnamon and Vanilla Bakes Simple” by Aran Goyoaga (Sasquatch Books, 2021).

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