Cleo’s Clean Cooking: Ginger-Spiced Pear Upside-Down Cake



This gluten-free, vegan cake is a showstopper — ideal to make if you are entertaining.

Its array of spices provides the perfect flavor profile for an autumn or winter treat, but it is healthy enough to have for breakfast! The ingredients used ensure that your final product is not only tasty, but also high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats. I think it’s best served warm with a dollop of crème fraîche, vanilla ice cream, or Greek yogurt.

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Cleo is in the Bluedot Kitchen adding grated pears to a bowl with her cake batter.

Cleo's Clean Cooking: Ginger-Spiced Pear Upside-Down Cake

  • Author: Cleo Carney


Serves 12-14


Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (and some for greasing)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 7 ounces (scant 1 cup) unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 apples, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1 pear, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon flaked almonds, for sprinkling on top (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 375ºF and grease an 8 x 8 inch cake tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vanilla extract, almond milk, coconut sugar, and spices. Add your oat, buckwheat, and almond flours. Stir to combine and add baking powder and baking soda.
  3. Fold the grated apples and raisins into the mixture.
  4. Arrange pear slices on the bottom of the greased cake tin, then carefully pour your batter on top (try not to move the pears).
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before removing the cake from the tin. To remove, carefully flip the cake onto a large plate.
  7. Garnish with the flaked almonds. Cut into slices and enjoy!

Cleo Carney is a high school student in Ottawa, Canada, and part of the Bluedot team. In addition to being an adventurous baker who loves to find the healthiest possible way to make yummy cakes, cookies, and breads (healthy for you and the planet), Cleo’s a key part of our Bluedot Institute (BDI). The BDI is bringing together middle and high school students from all over North America to share their progress on and toolkits for tackling local environmental projects; they’re also learning how to be cub reporters and will be posting stories and “climate conversations” on their efforts to

You can see Cleo at work interviewing Ollie Becker, a filmmaker on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., about the perils and opportunities facing the Island’s many coastal “great ponds.”

You can see more of Cleo’s creations at her Bluedot Youtube channel or at

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Cleo Carney
Cleo Carney
Cleo is a British Canadian food fanatic, living in Ottawa, Canada, after growing up in London, England. She is passionate about healthy living, limiting food waste, and finding ways to make classic dishes more nutritious and better for the environment. She is currently a student advisor for the Bluedot Institute and a recipe developer for Bluedot Living. Additionally, she runs a website,, where she showcases more of her recipes.
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