Melt butter or margarine in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Add brown sugar, stirring until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat.
Arrange pear halves and lemon slices over the bottom of the skillet in butter sugar mixture.
Sift flour, soda, spices, and salt onto wax paper.
Beat shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the honey, egg and lemon rind. Stir in dry ingredients, half at a time, blending well after each addition. Stir in hot water.
Carefully spoon batter over fruit in the skillet, spreading as evenly as possible.
Bake at 375 F for 40 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched with fingertip.
Loosen cake around the edges of the skillet with a knife blade. Cover skillet with a serving plate; invert and let stand 5 minutes. Lift off the skillet.
Serve warm with a favourite topping. Whipped sweetened cream cheese or whipped cream or vanilla yogurt or ice cream are all good choices. Makes 6 to 8 servings depending on how you cut them.