Gâteau de Mamy: My Grandmother’s Pear Cake Recipe

Le goûter is the afternoon snack kids are given when they come out of school around four. In my family, it is also called simply le thé, and is practically an institution. Around five on weekends, somebody will invariably ask “on fait le thé?” (alternatively “on prend le goûter?”). Cookies or cake (often home-baked by my mother) will be served, washed down by liters of tea. It is a habit I am very fond of, and one that I am always happy to indulge in when I can.

The resulting cake is golden, buttery and incredibly moist, light and fruity, with a slightly crusty edge, and it is very hard to stop at just one slice.

And so, when my dear friend Marie-Laure came over pour le goûter on Sunday, I baked a cake.

I used a family standby called Gâteau de Mamy. As the name implies, this is my grandmother’s recipe, which she calls “Gâteau d’Ella” because it was her dear friend Ella’s recipe originally. It is anybody’s guess what Ella called it.

Mini Cookbook of French Tarts

It is actually what is called an upside down cake, meaning that you lay fresh fruit at the bottom of the cake pan, and then pour the dough on top. Sort of a cake equivalent to the tarte tatin. It works with a variety of fruit : apples, apricots, plums… Here, I used 6 small pears, of three different varieties.

The resulting cake is golden, buttery and incredibly moist, light and fruity, with a slightly crusty edge, and it is very hard to stop at just one slice. But if you do and there are leftovers, the reward will be that this cake tastes even better the next day.

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My Grandmother’s Pear Cake Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Serves 8.

My Grandmother’s Pear Cake Recipe


  • 125 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large pears or 6 small ones (substitute apples, apricots, plums...), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 150 grams (3/4 cups) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 20 grams (2 tablespoons) ground almonds (a.k.a. almond meal or almond flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease the sides of a 20-cm (8-inch) round cake pan with a bit of the butter, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Place the pears in a single layer at the bottom of the pan.
  3. In a medium mixing-bowl, beat the sugar and the eggs until the mixture pales slightly.
  4. In another bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, and baking powder. Add to the wet ingredients and blend well, but without overmixing. Pour in the butter, and blend again.
  5. Pour the batter evenly over the fruit, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden.
  6. Let the cake settle on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Invert it onto a plate (the fruit side will be at the top). If any bit of fruit has stuck to the bottom of the pan, simply scrape and place it back where it belongs on the cake. Use a second plate to invert the cake again (the fruit side will then be at the bottom).
  7. Let cool and serve, slightly warm or at room temperature.
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  • Deb

    I just wanted to be one of the first to tell you how wonderful your site is!
    The design, the photography, the writing, the FOOD, all wonderful!
    So happy you’re finally here.

  • Hey Deb!
    Thank you so much! I’m very happy you like it, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I love yours!

  • Rebecca

    Hi Clotilde!

    I love your site! I have a question about this recipe, and please excuse my ignorance… here in the states, butter is sold mostly by the pound, each pound being divided up into 4 sticks. Do you have an estimate as to how much butter this would translate to in your recipe? Also, baking powder is sold in canisters and measured using teaspoons… any ideas how to convert?

    I am a total novice when it comes to using European measurements! Do you know of any websites that can help me make this transition? I really want to try this cake!

    Take care, and see you over at the CL BB!


  • Hello Rebecca! It’s nice to see you here!
    Yes, the measuring differences between here and the us is a headache. I’ve had the problem both ways : trying to make French recipes in the US, and trying to make US recipes here! But now I have sets of measuring cups and spoons as well as a kitchen scale in grams, so I’m pretty much ready for anything! I intend to put up a measure equivalents section very soon…
    To answer your questions, 1 stick of butter as packaged in the US is 112g of butter. So in this recipe, 1 stick plus a tenth of another would be good. As for baking powder, one packet is equivalent of a teaspoon. So here, half a tsp should do the trick!
    If you try this recipe let me know how it goes!

  • Katerina

    Hi Clotilde, I’m going to be original: Your web site is great, the pictures are beautiful, I love the recipes, your English is amazing. Really!
    Now that’s out of the way, let me tell you I had great success with the gateau last weekend. I made it for several friends as part of a brunch menu and I did alter the recipe a bit (which I normally don’t do, as I am philosophically opposed to unnecessary “improvements” for their own sake), but this time I did fiddle with it and added:
    – finely diced Turkish dried apricots and
    – minced candied ginger,
    both stirred into the batter. This made the slices look like mosaic, and the additional flavors were a nice counterpart to the apple (couldn’t find good pears) but not overpowering (I didn’t use much). (I did this b/c one of my friends generally doesn’t like food that has no spices in it. And she really liked this slightly gingery version. I know the recipe is probably great as is, and I’m planning on making the un-tarted-up version soon.)

    Also, I served the cake inverted (the bottom was quite a bit moist and I didn’t want it sticking to the plate) and as it was looking a bit messy (some pieces of fruit did stick to the pan), I covered up the imperfections with a sprinkling of lightly toasted sliced almond, and sifted some confectioners’ sugar on top.

    It was great, and looked both rustic and elegant, which has always kind of been my ideal aesthetically.

    L’oeuf au cocotte (?) is now my almost daily breakfast. The variations are endless. It’s tasty and filling, doesn’t make a mess of my (teeny New York) kitchen, and is pretty to boot. (*My* ramekins are those FLAME colored ones from LeCreuset. Beyootiful.)

    Which is a long way of saying Merci beaucoup!!!!

  • Katerina – Thank you so much for the wonderful compliments! I am thrilled you liked the cake, and the addition of dried apricots and ginger sounds really lovely, both taste and texture-wise. Congrats on the successful tinkering!

    And the oeuf cocotte is your daily breakfast? Wow, that sure pleases me too! Thanks for telling me all this, and you are quite welcome!

  • kelli ann

    clotilde – i have just slipped cake #2 from your site into the oven, and although i did a MAJOR boo-boo (cake batter looked kind of sparse, blanketing the pears, then i realized with horror thati had forgotten to mix in the melted butter!! – so pears will be mixed in throughout the batter instead of tatin’ed on top – or bottom), i am certain that it is going to be delicious!!

    your rice entry for the IMBB looks great – i am dying to make my way through all of the great ideas there! good job, girl!


  • Kelli Ann – I’m happy you tried this recipe, it’s one of my absolute favorites! I’m sure the batter thing wasn’t a problem : did it turn out as well as you hoped?

  • Michele

    Hi Clotilde, I’ve been reading your site for some time and I just have to say, there isn’t one recipe in here that didn’t turn out as wonderful as expected when I tried it. :) (although there was that melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake, ‘Cake of Doom’ to my friends, that once came out like a self saucing pudding… not at all unpleasant!)

    Anyway, just wanted to say, for the measurement conversions… I know you have a conversion page linked, but one thing you may like to add somewhere is Google’s calculator toy. Just type in what you want to convert in the search box, hit enter, and there it goes. eg. “150g in ounces”. Works for most standard units of measurement.

    Unfortunately it doesn’t know what a stick or a packet is… But this does:

    Hope that helps some people out there. :)

  • Michele

    Oh, forgot to mention. I made this cake (the pear version) at the weekend served with cardamom cream (1/2 cup whipped cream, 2 tbs dark brown sugar, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, whip to desired consistency) and it was well received! Another success ;)

    Incidentally, the cream is rather tasty by itself…

  • escargot gourmand

    Now this cake sounds really delicious! My mother and I also used to have a “goûter” on Saturdays afternoon… Those were the days…

  • OOOOh, THE famous “French goûter”, délectation des grands gourmands…à 16 heures sonnantes et trébuchantes, au restaurant, je me sers systématiquement au moment de partir en pause, ma tartelette aux pores, ou aux figues.

    Joli clin d’oeil au passage.

    Bon, puis-je m’en servir une part ?
    Please..thanks so much, indeed…(the doigt levé…)


  • Lovely!!!.J’aimerais être avec vous .

  • Katie

    Aha! Perfect timing, I am at my parents and we have a glut of pears thanks to the tree in the garden getting buffetted by the winds. I shall make this cake. Thanks muchly.

  • It seems absolutely amazing. I love pears.

  • elizabeth

    Chere Clotilde, so I made the gateau & served for tea today when our friends came. I was sure they will like it, wow, they are great ! I got red pears at the market & they did well, what a lovely cake that is ! The only thing was I baked it at 400F in US oven, the top came out very black but I covered it with powdered sugar, voila, it looked very pretty, merci mille fois. elizabeth

  • Deanna

    Dear Clotilde,
    I made this gateau over the weekend and it was fabulous. My husband said that it just melted in his mouth. Thank you for your tasty recipes and for giving me the inspiration to try new things. Deanna

  • Nina


    I made this cake on Sunday for tea. My parents loved it! Thank you so much for this simple and delicious recipe!

  • Swan

    And here it was a succes as well, very yummy! A bit sweet though, as my pears were quite ripe. Interesting to see how the texture and flavours change while the temerature changes (I had to try straight from the oven, lukewarm and at roomtemp….)today is the ‘next day’, can’t wait ’till teatime!

  • Quelle merveille !

  • caroline

    I had the same experience as Elizabeth. Blackened top but also not quite done after 45 minutes! I recommend baking it at 375 instead of 400…and for the full 50 minutes. So so good! Thank you!

  • I’m really glad this turned out well for those of you who tried it, thank you for reporting back!

    Elizabeth and Caroline, sorry yours turned out black on top — oven temps are very difficult because not all ovens have the same accuracy. I hope you’ll make it again and tweak the temp!

  • Jed

    I made the cake this past weekend and had the same results .. black top, a trifle less done inside than I would have liked. Next time I’ll try 375. It was still wonderful — thanks for the recipe!

  • berkeley girl

    I made this for a Thanksgiving get together… I don’t know what size French pears are… but I couldn’t fit more than 2 small comice and 1/2 a standard sized barlett pear on the bottom of my cake pan! How large are the pear slices supposed to be, Clotilde? Perhaps this is why the cake turned out a tad try where was wasn’t any fruit. But it was still good and looked very pretty served fruit side up. (I was also short on eggs and only used 1 1/2 eggs rather than 2 and didn’t have any almond powder.)

    I tried 375 in an American oven, as everyone suggested. At 40 min, it was all the way done, and the top and sides became brown, but not blackened. The edges was not crusty, however. I used a glass pie dish, but I don’t know if that made any difference.

    -berkeley girl

  • berkeley girl

    Perhaps this a stupid question, but I just reread your recipe and looked at the photos. It hits me that your uncooked batter looks like a thick liquid while mine was sort of a grainy cream. I used a hand-held mixer to blend the ingredients. I wasn’t sure whether “until mixture whitens slightly” and “blend well” meant blend until just incorporated or what. Did I overmix the batter?

    -berkeley girl

  • I must try this. Tonight.

  • Linda

    Now I know what to do with my Christmas gift basket that came full of pears from Harry & David.

    I will likely use an 8″ spring bottom pan so I can avoid all the flipping.


  • Nyama

    I made this last night with apples for dinner. I admit I had to restrain myself from adding frosting, since in America we ALWAYS have frosting on a cake. But I stuck with the directions and it was absolutley wonderful – and so simple. Thank you! Nyama

  • VeggiesPlease

    I made this cake, using apples as the fruit and adding a chopped handful or so of almonds to the batter, over the weekend. It came out absolutely incredible, moist, buttery and delicious. I love that it’s mostly fruit, but the cake part is so intensely good that it definitely makes its presence felt.

    As it seems to have done for some others, mine cooked faster than the recommended time; luckily I was so entranced by the gorgeous scent emanating from the oven that I couldn’t resist running into the kitchen for a quick look every five minutes. When it started to get pretty brown, I stuck in a toothpick and was delighted to find I didn’t have to wait any more. Then I ate like a quarter of the thing, immediately. How did anyone manage to have leftovers??

    Thanks for the recipe, Clothilde – it’s so easy, and the result is heavenly!

    ~ Melissa

  • ally

    Hi Clotilde!

    i love your site, the pics and all the stories that accompany them, they are so refreshing and make them personal.

    I made this cake and i must have done something wrong. the cake turned out really mushy. i converted the grams to ounces but there were some odd numbers like 5.42 oz and i kind of guessed at the measurements. could you convert all the measurements to ounces for me? what do think i did wrong? i would love to make the cake and have it turn out just like yours. i love pears and cake!



  • Célia

    Hi Clotilde.
    I baked this cake yesterday and i really loved it. I decided to use cristalized ginger cut into small pieces (spread over the pears) and it worked well.

    I love your site!
    Thank you for all the wonderfull recipes

  • brigitte

    Hello Clotilde, aujourd’hui, 14 octobre, où plein de mes enfants viennent déjeuner, j’ai voulu faire “le gateau de mamie” (ce que je suis d’ailleurs) et j’ai regardé ta recette que tu avais mis en ligne le…14 octobre 2003! Quelle coïncidence! (and, by the way, it’s JeanFrançois’s birthday)
    J’espère que tu vas bien . love

  • Janice

    Dear Clotilde,

    I made two of these for Thanksgiving with hopes that they will get better tomorrow, but I couldn’t resist slicing into one of the cakes and taking a bite!

    I followed your recipe exactly, but then I also added some ground cardamom to the batter. It worked exceptionally well. I also cooked for 40 minutes at 375.

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  • Miss Piggy

    My husband’s cousin is a fan of yours and has used several of your recipes. However, last night she made this cake and all I can say is OMG! I was talking about it all day to the girls at work and my husband. I can’t wait to make it for my family and see their reactions, I hope they will be pleasantly surprised! Thank you!
    -Miss Piggy

  • Esther

    I made two of these cakes for a dinner party. Divine. So moist and just altogether yummy. I made them a day in advance and wrapped them in foil for transport (party was at someone elses house as I have no dining table…it’s a students life) Served with custard mmmmm

  • Alison

    I made this cake using three different kinds of pears (and rather more pears than you suggest) and it was absolutely wonderful. Most of the pears I bought were quite hard, but they softened–not too much–in the cooking, and were just perfect. I’m not accustomed to metric measurements, but it really wasn’t difficult to translate them. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Chris

    I tried making this with chestnut flour (In the UK, http://www.shipton-mill.com stock it as a seasonal item). For the first attempt, I just used half-and-half with wheat flour, but the result was so oh-wow-that’s-amazing I now use just the chestnut flour. The slight smokiness it goes so well with the fruit.

    (I make it in a 20cm square pan, so to scale the recipe I keep the same amount of butter and sugar, but use 120g flour and a third egg.)

    Thank you (and your grandmother, and Ella…) for a recipe that shows the goodness of simple things.

  • Vivid

    I baked this 2 weeks ago and it was a great success. I used red apples, plums and the last of some frozen blueberries that I had left over from a previous baking session. I also tried making my own clotted cream for serving and it worked, to a point. Anyway the cake was enjoyed by all.

  • Elli

    Hello Clotilde,
    I am a regular reader of your blog. I find all your recipes delicious and fuss-free…with the added bonus of your wit to spice up the blogs. :-)

    i tried your pear cake with some small substitutions: i used only half the sugar mentioned (unrefined cane sugar), used clarified butter instead of butter, and used a 6-inch springform cake pan lined with baking paper. i added a dash of vanilla to the batter and forgot to add the baking soda. :-(

    the cake turned out superb! it didnt stick to the bottom. being almost 70% fruit, i dont feel guilty about eating it. i’m on a low glycemic load diet you see.

    thanks so much!

  • Marie

    I tried this yesterday. Awesome!

    Though undercooked… I used the 350F that the recipe recommends (though I wonder about that – other people said they reduced it from 400F to 375F – neither is referenced in the actual recipe). And I used a 9″ round instead of an 8″ – I couldn’t find an 8″ anywhere! I cooked it for a little less time since I had, in theory, a shallower cake. But I guess I’ll increase the temp or the cooking time or both next time.

    Oh, I also use ground flax seed instead of the almond since that’s what I had…

  • Marie – The ground flax seed idea is good! As for the baking time, oven temperatures vary surprisingly widely, so it’s possible yours runs a little low. (You could get an oven thermometer — they aren’t very expensive — and check.)

  • Howard

    Beautiful recipe, I will try it soon. My question is this, after afternoon tea, is there supper also? Around what time? What types of things would be served if tea was observed earlier in the day. It sounds very civilized.


  • Linda

    I made this as written at 350 degrees. I tested it with toothpicks multiple times/locations, they came out dry, but when I inverted my cake it had runny batter between the pears and cake. Is there a better way to test a cake such as this?

    I wound up re-inverting it onto a plate with the fruit on the bottom and just let it sit in the oven for a bit with the residual heat. Delicious! I hope to be able to perfect this recipe!

  • Nicole

    I have both of your books so I made this recipe with apples out of the Chocolate and Zucchini book with apples picked from my mother’s trees. I felt transported to France! It was so delicious! I can’t wait to try it with pears! Thank you!

  • Lisa

    We have a bosc pear tree that is really going nuts this year. I baked this cake last night for my family and it was terrific! I didn’t have any almonds to grind so I used pecans, and my all purpose flour has a bit of whole wheat flour mixed into it. Those were the only changes I made. Really light and wonderful – thanks for this recipe. I will make it again next week for the folks at work.

  • Jo

    Ooh it’s so lovely! Thank you for the recipe – it’s not like any cake I’ve made before and tastes beautiful.

  • Just made this today but with apples, like the original. Beautifully light and perfect after a Sunday Roast. Thank you!

  • ff

    I was just given some freestone peaches so I tried this with those & it’s wonderful!

    The fruit wasn’t yet soft & still had a bit of sourness, so I macerated the slices in a couple of tablespoons brown sugar for a few hours, which drew out just a little juice & made a nice syrup, but not too gooey or sweet.

    I didn’t re-invert after turning it out, just left it with the fruit on top — very beautiful.

    Big hit, & I plan to try it with different fruits. Thanks so much for this easy, excellent recipe.

    • I’m delighted to hear it, thanks for reporting back!

  • Joana

    Hi Clotilde,
    I made this with apples on Sunday and my family loved it. I didn’t think it was too sweet, but do you have any idea how far one could cut the butter? I love moist cakes, but this one left grease on the plate and a heavy feeling in my tummy. I think I’ll cut 30 grams next time and see how it goes.
    I love your site. As you can see, I’m working through the archives!

    • Lily

      Hi all, just made this for an all American Thanksgiving (with a French twist) and it was a smash hit! Wanted to note though that I do think this recipe could be quite good with less sugar and butter. And for an 8-inch cake pan, maybe mine was particularly tall, but I actually doubled the batter recipe for four small apples at the bottom. And instead of chunking the apples, I sliced them and put them in a circular pattern which was quite pretty when presented upside-down. For measurement conversions, here’s what I used: 150g of white granulated sugar is 3/4 cup, 65g of all-purpose white flour is 1/2 cup, so 70g= a little more than half a cup, one stick of butter, one tsp of baking powder. But as I said, I think it would be just as good with less butter and sugar. And dried fruit as another reader suggested worked out well (dried plums in my case).

      • Thanks for sharing your variation, Lily, I’m glad it rose up to the occasion!

  • clbtx

    I know this is an old post, but really, this is one of the best, homey-est cakes I’ve ever made. I made this with apples, putting a little sprinkling of sugar at the bottom of the buttered pan to enhance the caramelization process.

    I ended up using about 1.5 apples (granny smith) as they were rather large and this was plenty for me. When I poured the batter over the apples, it didn’t seem to cover them enough, so doubled the cake batter. I was afraid it would overflow, but it worked out well. I did add a dash of cinnamon to the batter, just for fun.

    Seriously, this will be my go-to cake from now on. So easy to make and so delicious!

    Thanks for so generously sharing your grandmother’s (and her friend’s) recipe! I hope they’re happy that their legacy will live on in all of our homes. :-)

    • Delighted to hear you’ve adopted this recipe into your own repertoire, thank you so much for reporting back!

  • This is one of the best desserts I’ve ever made, according to my husband, and I’ve made lots! I made it today, in a 9.5-inch springform pan. I set the oven to 350 as directed and baked it for about 45 minutes or so. I discovered that the center seems to rise up slightly like a soufflé and I think that is the key to doneness. At that time and temperature it did not turn black, but a dark golden color, though the sides did not get very crunchy. With a little but of whipped cream yum! Oh yes, I put in about 1/4 t. EACH of vanilla extract and almond extract, because the pears lacked a little, well, pearness, if you get my drift.

    Thank you, Clotilde, for this wonderful recipe — I printed it out and stuck inside one of my French cookbooks that I use all the time.

    • It’s a pleasure to have you here, Cynthia, and I’m ever so pleased you enjoyed this recipe. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  • Athicha

    I made this today and it was delicious! I used a bundt pan, and the pears almost filled it. Miraculously, there was enough room for the batter, to which I added chopped almonds and walnuts instead of ground almonds. I also left it inverted with fruit on top as it was pretty that way.

    While peeling the pears, I thought to myself how they were not my favourite fruit, but after this cake I might have to change my mind. It was so delicious it made me so happy! Thank you, Clothilde.

    Did the person that copied your photo and recipe ever replied to you? I ran into his post today and was perplexed for a while until I saw your comment on it. Good for you to speak up!

    • I’m so glad, Athicha, thank you! (And no, that person never replied and I let it go, but I am very grateful to you for pointing me to the post.)

  • Tereza

    Bonjour Clotilde,
    I absolutely love this cake and so do my friends, relatives and colleagues…well simply everybody having the occasion to try it. I just adapted your recipe while adding dark chocolate as topping as I really like the taste of pears together with chocolate. Also tried yesterday with canned apricot and few almonds cutted into pieces and it was also very nice!
    So thanks again for bringing this easy and tastefull recipe to me! Love your blog! Take care

    • I’m delighted, Tereza, and will be sure to tell my grandmother!

  • Olivia Chiu

    This is Olivia, from Taiwan.
    I bought your book “Chocolate&Zucchini” of Chinese version. Your stories and recipes are all wonderful. This week, I tried the recipe of “Le Gateau de Mamy” which doesn’t have pictures. The cake tastes very moist and creamy which makes me feel like it’s a pudding. At first, I thought there’s something wrong with my cake. After seeing pics here, i guess i did it right. It’s quite a surprise and I really like it;)Thanks! I upload the picture of my cake on my blog(http://oliviachiu0331.pixnet.net/blog/post/90494022). hope you can check it and give me some comments or suggestions. Thank you very much!

  • Chandler

    Bonjour, Clothilde!

    I have this cake baking in my oven right now, and I must say, it does smell heavenly! Think my oven’s temp is a little low so it’s taking a little longer than 50 min. to make, but I am excited for the final result :)

    Thank you for sharing your recipe, I am looking forward to how well this is going to turn out!

  • Christine Jackson Coinelis

    Gateau in oven in Mykonos now! I have used peaches and cherries today. Have tried it with apricots and apples…It always ‘takes the cake’. Thanks to you and all the grandmeres throughout time.

  • Christine Jackson Coinelis

    I’ve made the gateau may every two days this summer on Mykonos with different fruits…..everyone Adores it. Thank you.

  • Marguerite

    I made this last fall and I have to admit it is one of my absolute favorite cakes EVER! I got rave reviews from my guests, with people rolling their eyes into the back of their heads because it was so good.

    I’m very health-conscious however and was wondering if I cut back the amount of butter to 1/2 stick, will it still work or will I end up with a dry cake?

    Thanks again for sharing such a fantastic recipe!

    • So glad you and your guests enjoyed this! If I were you, I would try 1/2 stick butter plus 1/4 cup plain yogurt, to make up for the moisture you’ll lose by lowering the butter amount.

      • Marguerite

        Great! Thanks so much for the tip. I’ll try that :)

        By the way, last time I made this the middle of the cake was still very moist and not completely baked. Just wondering, do you have this problem too or do you just let it sit in the oven for an extra 15 mins? The pears were juicy (although not overly ripe) and I like it that way but for some reason it made the center of the cake very runny. Any ideas on how to fix this?

        Merci de nouveau! :)

        • It does sound like the cake was underbaked. Was the top browned, or still a little on the light side? If it was browned, then I would recommend lowering your oven temp a little and extend the baking time to give the center time to set.

  • Giovanna

    Hi I made this cake today and was very pleased with the results. I was expecting a disaster because I used self-raising flour and 1 tsp baking powder (I don’t know what all-purpose flour is!). Also, my batter was very thick – I certainly couldn’t pour it. However, I need not have worried, it was delicious. Thanks!

    • Happy to hear it! All-purpose flour is the American term for plain flour.

  • GARY

    Just wanted to say Thank you, I am on my 5th Gâteau de Mamy and every one is great, I have decided to add a few small Ginger nibs to the bottom of the cake (top) and layer the base(top) with sliced Almonds.
    Next I plan to caramelize the top ( bottom) layer of Pear to provide a more intense flavor. 10/10 :)

    • Thanks so much, Gary, I’m so pleased you’ve adopted that recipe into your repertoire ! My grandmother would be very proud. :)

  • Chris Nordberg

    Hi Clothilde, I love your site! I do most of the baking in our house and this gateau de mamy was a huge hit. I’m making it again tomorrow. I too had a small issue with underbaking the first time, but this is an altitude issue I think. The second time I did just as you suggested above – lowered heat and longer bake. I also put foil over the top the last 15 mins to prevent over browning. It came out perfect!

    • Delighted to hear it, Chris, thanks for reporting back!

  • apauled

    I’ve made this lovely cake with peaches (tossed in brown sugar & cinnamon) & also with pears (tossed in brown sugar & ginger) — I don’t re-invert it, just invert once & leave it with the beautiful fruit on top, a perfect little upside down cake.

    This time, mangos were on sale so I used those with brown sugar sprinkled across the bottom of the baking dish first. But the fruit was over-ripe & I’m clumsy, so I didn’t arrange the slippery, sticky, juicy slices very well & the inverted top of the cake didn’t look particularly neat. I thought that toasted coconut might taste good with mango, so I sprinkled some of that on top & it covered the flaws perfectly. Huge hit with my guests, & with me too.

    This is such an easy & versatile recipe that I’m so glad to have. Many thanks, Clotilde.

    • Those versions all sound delicious, thank you for sharing! I’m delighted you’ve adopted the recipe, it has served my family well for many years. :)

  • This looks incredible! I have to bake it.
    And, thanks for putting the measurements down in cups for us Yanks! :)

    • Please let me know if you try it!

      • Absolutely, Maybe even tonight. I have some lovely apples in the fridge!

  • Abbe Kemack

    I make this cake approximately every 3rd Shabbos. It is always fantastic and the best part is that it is not time consuming. I used ripe pears and blackberries for the current one. I cannot wait to eat. Merci Clotilde :)

  • Joyce Beard

    I made this yesterday. Absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Fanny

    Bonjour Clothilde,

    Je ne trouve pas la traduction française de cette recette, est ce qu’elle existe ?


  • Ognena

    This cake looked marvelous and I thought it would be perfect to use up a few ripe pears, but sadly, it turned out to be a big disappointment. I followed the recipe to the T, and after around 55 minutes the center was set, but the cake turned pretty dark brown – wasn’t really golden brown like yours in the photo, it was more of a maple brown. This wasn’t such a deal breaker, but after taking three bites, I couldn’t force my self to down another bite – it was disgustingly greasy. I love moist, buttery cakes, but this was just wrong, it was almost as if the cake was glazed with melted butter – even my plate turned yellow from all of the butter. Even when I was making the batter I felt kinda wrong adding basically more butter than flour, but I went with it. Is there any way I could cut the butter at least by half? I would like it to give it a second chance, because I do think it would be a nice cake, but this amount of butter just really killed it for me.

    • I’m sorry the recipe did not turn out to your taste. It is definitely one of the more butter-happy recipes on this site, as was my grandmother’s baking. We like it that way, but feel free to decrease the amount of butter if you prefer.

  • Christine Jackson Counelis

    around 100 gateau and I still have to check the directions…but it always pleases and accepts any manner of ovens and consumers…it’s just the best. Thank you Clotilde, for making some significant part of my life French and very happy.

  • A friend gave us a bottle of French pear brandy. Do you have any suggestions for using it in a cake?

    • Lovely! I would use 1-2 tablespoons of it in any cake, this one or the yogurt cake, and you can also combine it with confectioner’s sugar to make a simple glaze to top said yogurt cake, or a lemon loaf cake.

      • Thank you! I was hesitant to add additional liquid to a cake recipe so I’m glad to know I can proceed with the idea! The yogurt cake is a brilliant idea!

        • You are wise to be super careful about tinkering with baking recipes — I wish more readers were that way, it would make troubleshooting a lot easier, ha ha. That said, I feel few cake recipes are *so* precise that 1 or 2 tablespoons extra liquid would ruin the outcome.

          • That said, I’m going to try it with the recipe above and see what happens :)

  • Christine Jackson Counelis

    Agian and again. Yesterday with plums….luscious. Today with pears. Classic. Never ever fails …..to melt away in the space of a day.

  • Ariel

    OMG Clotilde, this is a fabulous recipe. I made it today with one substitution – I used avocado oil instead of butter because I didn’t have any butter and I thought the melted butter would be akin to an oil. It was just fantastic. The cake is light and airy and delicious. I baked it in a 9″ springform and only needed to use 3 large Bartlett pears. It rose almost like a souffle. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

    • So good to hear, Ariel, thank you for reporting back! Are you able to find avocado oil that doesn’t cost a million dollars? :)

      • Ariel

        Yes actually – here I can get a 1.5 litre bottle for $13 at Costco. However, I would suggest you could use any oil: sunflower (non-gmo of course) or even a half olive and sunflower. Walnut oil would be great but again, that is expensive. You could use canola and any vegetable oil as well but I stay away from these.

  • This pear cake sounds incredibly delicious! I like the fact it uses almond flour, all cakes I made previously with it were super yummy.

  • Punky Brewster

    A good birthday cake, thanks to your grandmother.
    Although I couldn’t manage to turn it out properly, the crusty edge was the best part of it :-)

    • Merci Audrey ! J’ai oublié de répondre dans ton email, je me demande si le problème de démoulage n’est pas lié à ton moule en verre ? On a toujours fait dans un moule en métal dans ma famille.

  • annette barbasch

    Lovely, light, comforting cake. I used 1/2c sugar and it was sweet enough.

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