upside down pear cake
I got this recipe out of the Essential New York Times Cookbook. An interesting recipe, very seasonal and wasn't sure how it would turn out. I made it early in the day for a dinner party thinking that if it was a total bust, I could quickly come up with something else on the fly. Ended up perfect.
The recipe calls for a 9 inch cake pan. I went with a 9 inch cake pan with a removable bottom. I was concerned that the stickiness of the pears wouldn't come out of a regular cake pan but at least this way I could maneuver the top with a knife, worse case scenario.
11 tbsp. unsalted butter
5 small ripe Bartlett pears – peeled, cored and quartered. (I kept them in the refrigerator before using)
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tbsp. Poire Williams ( I used peach liquer because that is what I had and it worked fine )
1 cup flour
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
2 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tbsps. boiling water
Rum scented whipped cream
Butter the baking dish really well with 1 tbsp. butter.
After peeling, coring and quartering the pears…toss with lemon juice.
Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a large saute pan over high heat. Sprinkle 2 tbsp sugar over the pan. Add the pears. Cook them until they are browned on all sides. About 10 minutes. Mine never browned. Not the end of the world. Take the pears out and set aside.
Add the liquer to the pan and 2 more tbsp of sugar and crank up the heat reducing this to a syrup. Happens quickly. About one minute. Then pour the syrup into the cake pan coating the entire bottom. Place the pears in the cake pan in a single layer. Set aside. There were some leftovers.
Heat the oven to 350. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
In a mixer with a paddle attachment beat the remaining 8 tbsp. butter until fluffy. Add the brown sugar, beat again for about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and continue beating. Add the molasses and ginger until mixed in and now gradually add in the flour mixture.
Pour this mixture over the pears. I had to use a spatula to make sure all the pears were covered.
Cake for 25 minutes. Then lower the heat to 325 and bake another 15 minutes. Watch the cake. I only baked it another 12 minutes and knew it was done because the middle of the cake barely sprung back when I touched the center.
Take out of the oven. Cool for a least an hour before inverting the cake onto a serving plate.
Serve with whipped cream. 1 cup whipping cream mixed with 2 tbsp. confectioners sugar. Beat until soft peaks. Add 2 tbsp. dark rum and beat again. The rum whipping cream adds a whole dimension to each slice.