1/2 cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (60 mL) unsalted butter
2 tsp (10 mL) lemon juice
3 firm ripe pears, (about 1-1/4 lb/565 g)
1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup (75 mL) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (75 mL) packed brown sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1-1/3 cups (325 mL) all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
1 pinch salt
3/4 cup (175 mL) buttermilk
In saucepan over medium heat, cook brown sugar, butter and lemon juice, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Scrape into greased and parchment paper–lined 9-inch (2.5 L) square cake pan.
Peel, core and halve pears; cut each half into about 1/4-inch (5 mm) thick wedges. Arrange wedges, overlapping slightly, in pan.
Buttermilk Cake: In large bowl, beat butter with granulated and brown sugars until fluffy; beat in eggs and vanilla.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, making 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of buttermilk. Pour over pears, smoothing to edges of pan.
Bake in 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) oven until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto serving plate; remove parchment paper.