Pear Upside Down Cake with a Gluten Free Mocha Sponge


An Autumnal Pear Upside Down Cake with a gluten free Mocha sponge. Made with unrefined sugars, it is rich with caramel notes alongside the earthy sweetness from the chocolate-coffee cake. A perfect dessert with custard, cream or ice cream. Optional dairy free.



A gluten free Pear Upside Down Cake for Autumn

When it’s officially Autumn, I make gluten free Pear Upside Down Cake to celebrate. I know it’s Autumn, because the pears are at their best and they can be seen ripening on the neighbourhood trees. This particular cake was made with local pears gifted by a friend from her garden… A perfect seasonal offering. Sweet, fruity and comforting.

A perfect pairing… Mocha sponge for my gluten free Pear Upside Down Cake

The recipe used for this Pear Upside Down Cake has a gluten free Mocha Sponge. An unlikely pairing? Maybe. But the intense and slightly bitter tang of coffee-infused chocolate sponge marries beautifully against the butter-softened pears. The sponge is (as with most upside-down cakes) a little dense, but superbly moist. The addition of ground almonds brings structure, tenderness, subtle nuttiness and shelf-life to the bake. Somehow, it just works!

Not a fan of Mocha? It’s fine to leave out the coffee…

That’s fine. If you don’t like mocha, just leave out the coffee powder and use water (or sub with milk for extra richness). Chocolate and pear are a fantastic combo and (in my opinion) much under-used.


The gift of Autumn… Seasonal fruit

I love Autumn. The beauty and magic of the colour-changing leaves… The musty, but slightly sweet smell of decaying foliage under foot… The still, cold air on bright mornings alternating with squally winds… The senses awakened.

And with Autumn comes the abundance of the harvest to delight the taste buds. Hedgerows woven together and decorated with purple blackberries and bright rosehips… Fruit trees heavy with their gift of apples, pears and peaches… Squirrels thieving the cobnuts and chestnuts for their winter stores.

I feel fortunate to live in the ‘Garden of England’. Its wealth of fruit trees seems to adorn not just the countryside, but gardens on every street. It makes walking a dream… Literally grabbing flawless, curvy green fruit from over-hanging trees and boxes with big signs that read ‘please help yourself’… Munching fresh, firm and crisp. Free food doesn’t get better and it would be wrong not to exploit every last shared offering. My gluten free Pear Upside Down Cake is perfect for their use.


Is this gluten free Pear Upside Down Cake safe for Coeliacs?

Yes. My Pear Upside Down Cake has been created to be totally safe for people with Coeliac Disease (Celiac Disease) and other gluten-intolerants. And since it was developed using my Gluten Free Alchemist wholegrain Blend B, it is also rice free and thus has no potential arsenic risk either.

Nonetheless, as with all gluten free baking, be sure to check ingredient labels for any chance of cross-contamination or ‘may contain’ warnings. Especially if you have a gluten-related health condition.

A gluten free Pear Upside Down Cake that is also free from refined sugar

In addition to gluten and rice, this recipe for Pear Upside Down Cake is also made to be free from refined sugar. Instead of standard caster sugar, it uses coconut sugar and maple syrup. Apart from being more natural, using coconut and maple sugars also give the sponge some wonderful caramel notes and depth of sweetness that you just don’t get with white sugar.


Can I make gluten free Pear Upside Down Cake dairy free?

Yes. The only dairy-containing ingredient used in the recipe is butter. And this can be simply substituted for a good dairy free block alternative. I recommend either Stork or Flora unsalted baking blocks.

How to serve gluten free Pear Upside Down Cake

The beauty of an upside-down cake is that it is always flipped to show its best side. So, once baked and cooled a little, flip it out onto a favourite serving plate to show it off in all its fruity pear glory!

What then? While it’s delicious served as it is (it’s a moist and succulent cake that needs nothing to enhance it), it makes a perfect Autumnal comfort dessert served with lashings of custard, a drizzle of cream, or some vanilla ice cream alongside.


Ready to make gluten free Pear Upside Down Cake?

And that’s it… My gluten free Pear Upside Down Cake. Will you make it?

If you do, please come back and tell me how you got on in the comments at the bottom. You can also find me on social media on FacebookInstagramTwitter or Pinterest. #glutenfreealchemist

And if you love what you see, feel free to rate the recipe too ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. You can do this via the comments section or direct on the recipe card.

Thanks for visiting Gluten Free Alchemist and happy baking. We hope to see you again soon.

Other fabulous gluten free Pear recipes you’ll love…

Other #freefromharvest ideas from the free from blogging community


Pear Upside Down Cake with Mocha Sponge

An Autumnal Pear Upside Down Cake with a gluten free Mocha sponge. Made with unrefined sugars, it is rich with caramel notes alongside the earthy sweetness from the chocolate-coffee cake. A perfect dessert with custard, cream or ice cream. Optional dairy free.
Course Cake, Dessert
Cuisine British, Gluten Free, optional dairy free
Keyword mocha, Pear, upside down cake
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 344.7kcal


  • Kitchen scales
  • measuring spoons
  • 1 x 8 inch round spring form baking tin
  • baking paper
  • Oven
  • sharp vegetable knife
  • Mixing bowls
  • mixing spoon/spatula
  • electric whisk
  • measuring jug
  • wire rack


Fruit 'base'

  • 2 large firm pears peeled and deseeded – sliced lengthways into ‘half-moons’
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • a few small knobs of butter

Mocha Sponge

  • tbsp instant espresso coffee powder (or less as preferred)
  • 140 ml/g boiling water
  • 180 g gluten free plain flour blend eg. Gluten Free Alchemist Blend B or A – See NOTES
  • 40 g ground almonds almond meal
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder gluten free
  • 30 g cocoa powder
  • 125 g butter (or dairy free block alternative) softened
  • 125 g coconut sugar
  • 50 g maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs At room temperature – UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • mocha beans/icing sugar/grated dark chocolate to decorate all optional


Fruit 'base'

  • Base-line an 8 inch (20 cm) round, spring-form, non-stick cake tin with baking paper.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
  • Lightly butter the baking paper in the base of the cake tin and arrange the peeled, deseeded, sliced pears on top. Sprinkle with a little sugar.
  • Dab a few small nobs of butter on the pear and place in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the pear is just browning and the butter and sugar are bubbling.
  • Remove from the oven and turn the temperature down to 160 C/320 F/Gas 3.


  • Dissolve the coffee powder in the boiling water and set aside to cool. (To help cool a little quicker, use a half-half mix of hot and cold water, dissolving the powder in the hot water before adding the cold)
  • Weigh and mix together the flour, almonds, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder and cocoa, making sure all the ingredients are well blended and all lumps are broken down (TIP: weigh into an airtight container and shake well). Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and maple syrup with an electric whisk until light and fluffy.
  • Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl and add, a little at a time to the butter-mix, beating thoroughly between each addition.
  • Add the vanilla extract and beat again.
  • Add the dry ingredients and cooled coffee and fold with a large spoon or spatula until just combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into the cake tin on top of the pears and smooth the batter so that the surface is even.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the cake is set and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and leave the cake for 10 to 15 minutes in the tin to cool slightly, before turning out onto a wire rack (upside-down, so that the pears are on the top).
  • Sprinkle with grated chocolate/icing sugar/mocha beans to decorate.
  • Enjoy on its own, warm or cold or with coconut cream, custard or ice cream.


* Note: nutritional information is an estimate & may vary according to portion size/ingredient variants.
Gluten Free Alchemist Rice Free Flour Blend B (the flour I used) can be found on the GFA Flours & Flour Blending Page. GFA Blend A should also work fine. If using an alternative flour blend, the texture may vary. 


Calories: 344.7kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 5.8g | Fat: 17.6g | Saturated Fat: 8.9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4.1g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 80.1mg | Sodium: 476mg | Potassium: 193.7mg | Fiber: 5.7g | Sugar: 21.6g | Vitamin A: 472.3IU | Vitamin C: 2.5mg | Calcium: 141.4mg | Iron: 2mg

Pear Upside Down Cake shared with

  • Cook Blog Share
  • Fiesta Friday with Angie
  • Create, Bake, Grow & Gather with Shabby Art Boutique
  • Full Plate Thursday with Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
  • What’s for Dinner with The Lazy Gastronome
  • Sundays on Silverado with The House on Silverado

Previously shared with: Simple & In Season with Feeding Boys; We Should Cocoa with Tin & Thyme

The post Pear Upside Down Cake with a Gluten Free Mocha Sponge appeared first on Gluten Free Alchemist.

Pear Upside Down Cake with a Gluten Free Mocha Sponge