How to Make It
Heat oven to 375˚ F. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves and caramelizes, about 2-3 minutes. Place the pear slices into the pan, arranging them over the caramel in an overlapping circle. Melt remaining 8 tablespoons of butter in microwave or small saucepan and set aside.
Make the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. In a separate large bowl stir together the buttermilk and the melted butter. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring softly, until just smooth and combined.
Spoon the batter into the skilled over the pear layer and gently smooth it to the edges. Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then turn the cake over onto a large platter. Serve wedges slightly warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.