Friday, October 5, 2018

Upside Down Pear Cake

For some reason pears seem to be the last of the fruit choices. Whenever I bake something with apples or plums or peaches it is always gobbled up in a short time BUT when I make something with pears people are way more reluctant to dig in. 
I kind of get it. I mean.... they aren't my favorite either. It's a texture thing for me. Put them in a pie or a cake though.... I'm all over it. This cake, for example, is ridiculously good. Crumbly spice cake with gooey caramelized pears on top. Uh, yeah. Sign me up. 

Upside Down Pear Cake

Caramelized Pear Layer
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 pears, peeled and cored

2 cups flour
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cardamom
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom of a 10 inch pan with parchment paper, spray lightly with cooking spray, set aside. 
Place 2 Tbsp butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until melted and combined. Spread as evenly as possible into the prepared pan. Slice the pears thinly and lay the pears on top of the sugar mixture, doing your best not to overlap them too much. 
I added a pecan to the center but this is optional! Set aside. 
(NOTE - In the photos you will notice 3 pans. I doubled the recipe and made 3 - 8 inch cakes.)

Prepare cake - In a small mixing bowl, stir together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until it is creamy, scraping sides as needed. Beat in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Alternately beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with the milk. 
Carefully scrape batter on top of the pears in the pan and smooth out. (Again, in photo below, recipe has been doubled and made in 3 - 8 inch pans.) 

Bake at 350 until toothpick inserted near center of cake comes out clean, about 35 - 40 minutes. Watch for the top of the cake to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool only 5 minutes. Run a knife around the outside of the pan and then carefully invert cake onto a cooling rack. Peel off the parchment paper. Let cake cool before serving. (Although, it is pretty tasty warm too!)

All that gooey caramel sinks into the cake giving it a bit of a chewy crust.

It's a lovely moist topping on a soft, crumbly, spice cake. One of my favorites. 

Of course adding a bit of vanilla ice cream and hint of caramel sauce can't hurt, right?

This is a great recipe for people who aren't usually fans of pears. You could make it with apples too, if you preferred. 

The recipe as written above makes 1 - 10 inch cake. I chose to double it and put it in 3 - 8 inch pans because I wanted to be able to share with friends and family. 
Note - don't let the cake cool in the pan. The pears and the caramel will stick and you will have a heck of a time getting it out without tearing it up. About 5 - 8 minutes is long enough. I line my pans with parchment paper to help make removing them easier. 

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