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upside down pear, ginger, prune & port cake

jessica cox | upside down pear, ginger, prune & port cake

This up-side down pear, ginger, prune and port cake is certainly a cake for celebrations, or to bring out at a dinner party for a bit of wow factor. It’s certainly not a ‘bake and eat as afternoon tea through the week’ cake as many of my other baked options are here on the JCN website. This ones for loosening the reigns alongside providing an ongoing lesson on the topic of balance.  

The JCN ethos is all about balance. I’ve written about it time and time again and this cake highlights this fact. Yes this cake in quite high in sugars, but honestly its not going to cause you any great health concerns if you eat it every once in a while as part of a balanced diet. To be honest, eating a piece of a cake like this once a week or once fortnight is certainly better than eating a trendy raw dessert daily. Yes, raw desserts are made with ‘natural plant based ingredients’, but they are often very high in sugars (think lots of dried fruit) and can become quite quickly a daily source of too many sugars unwittingly.

We seem to have lost sight of the fact that regular baking can be wonderfully nourishing and nutritious. All of the attention has gone towards raw desserts as the power players of the healthy dessert arena. Realistically a cake made with wholegrain flours, nut or seed meals, eggs or flax meal, grated vegetables or fruits and spices is perfectly nourishing and often lower in sugar than a raw dessert. A baked dessert or cake when given a wholefood approach is also generally a little easier on the digestion than a raw dessert, which is dense in a large quantity of nuts, seeds and oils – often hard to breakdown in one big hit for many.

I am not saying that raw desserts are bad, in fact I have featured a few raw dessert inspired recipes on the JCN website such as my double chocolate coffee torte and lime and coconut tarts. We just need to take our foot off the accelerator from getting so wrapped up in them as the ‘cheat’s’ healthy way to eat cakes and desserts every day. We need to eat them as part of a balanced diet, just like a regular cake.

Bake to this glorious cake. I am a fan of cooking this up for a dinner party and serving this upside down pear, ginger, prune and port cake warm with more syrup and a scoop of really good ice cream. I would also suggest enjoying it with a glass of port or a really good wine without too much sweetness, like a riesling or even Frogmore’s Estates Iced Riesling to be precise. Divine. 

upside down pear, ginger, prune & port cake

Print Recipe

makes 10 – 12 serves
preparation time
20 minutes + overnight soaking of prunes
cooking time
50 minutes


  • 1 large pear, core removed and quartered
  • 1/3 cup macadamia nut oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup black strap molasses (unsulphured if sulphur sensitive)
  • 1 cup plant based milk
  • 1 cup golden syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour (or gluten free flour or spelt if tolerable)
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons dried ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • *1/2 cup chopped prunes soaked in port, pips removed


* Before making this cake you will need to soak your prunes overnight in port. Place the prunes in a small bowl and pour over enough good quality port to cover them. Leave overnight in the fridge covered well. Before adding to the cake, ensure the pips are removed and the prunes are chopped up. I’ll leave it up to you to decide what to do with the remaining port liquid. Personally I would drink it! 

Preheat your oven to 180c. Grease a round standard sized cake tin, then line the sliced pears on bottom of the tin in a fan like pattern. 

Combine oil, molasses, half of the golden syrup and milk in a saucepan and heat on a low heat on stovetop. Once the wet mixture is melted set aside. 

Sift remaining dry ingredients (besides the prunes) into a mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Add to the dry ingredients the wet melted ingredients along with the beaten eggs and mix through till just combined. Now fold through the prunes.

Pour cake batter into the prepared baking tin on top of the pears and bake for around 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean of raw batter. Please note the cake will be quite dark in colour due to the molasses. 

Let the cake stand for 10 minutes once it is out of the oven, then turn the cake out onto serving plate. Heat the remaining golden syrup and honey till well-combined and then drizzle over the cake allowing the thick syrup to permeate into the cake. You may not need all the syrup, just use what seems best, as the rest will be wonderful for serving later. 

Serve upside down pear, ginger, prune & port cake with good quality ice cream or yoghurt and extra syrup if desired. 


nutritional information

  • Molasses is a wonderful syrup with a rich malt like flavour. It is not particular sweet, so its addition to dishes will certainly not increase the sweet palate too much. Nutritionally molasses is rich in vitamin B6, iron, calcium, magnesium and manganese. I often suggest molasses to my client for an extra iron boost to add to their smoothies or porridge.
  • Molasses is a by-product of the sugar extraction process. The sugar cane juices are boiled to start with and the sugar crystals are collected for regular sugar. The remaining sugar cane liquid is boiled again (resulting in ‘second molasses’) and a third time to results in the remaining low sugar syrup, black strap molasses. Of course this remaining molasses is not devoid of sugar, but it is certainly a lower sugar option to regular white sugar. The nutritional profile is also higher in the black strap molasses.

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