I’ve been on a pear kick lately. This is a strange thing for me because, well, I don’t really like pears. I mean they are kind of like an apple but not an apple. They are juicier which is good, but they sometimes have a weird grainy texture that makes me cringe a little. I don’t mind cooked pears but this fat bottomed fruit is not the first thing I reach for in the produce case. Nevertheless, I found myself traipsing home last week with a sack full of pears, not because I wanted to eat them, but because I wanted to photograph them.
See, I “used to be a good photographer” (quote from a reader who once wrote a letter to my editor.) and I have been actively searching for a way to jump back into the pool of photography as art. The hard part is that time is a precious commodity at this house and I don’t always have the time to go out searching for something to photograph. Therefore, making up my own photograph is the logical next step. Hence, the pears.
These pears have taken on a life of their own; they’ve been gossiping, they’ve been having secret affairs (The Pear Affair! Get it?), they’ve been having quite the scandalous life in my sunroom, but the time came, as does for all pears, when they had to be eaten. Hence, the cake.
This is a simple Upside-Down cake although it has a little less sugar than most recipes. This makes it less saccharin-y and that’s a good thing. You do not have to slice the pears so that they are all arranged just so, but it does make it look extra special when you do. Just don’t leave this cake in the pan for very long after it’s done cooking, or you will never get this thing out.
Upside Down Pear Cake
An easy and delicious way to use up a few ripe pears.
- 3 bosc pears peeled and sliced
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 12 Tablespoons butter softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cardamom optional
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a cast iron skillet or a 9 inch cake pan, melt the butter for the topping over low heat. Stir in brown sugar until it has dissolved and turn off the heat but leave the pan on the eye.
- Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar (for the cake) together with a hand mixer of stand mixer. Add the eggs in one at a time along with the vanilla. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and other seasonings together in a small bowl and then add to the batter on LOW speed until mixed together well.
- Arrange the pears in the sugar mixture in the bottom of your pan and then dollop the batter on top of the pears. Spread the batter into an even layer and then bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- You need to remove this cake from the pan pretty quickly or you will have a mess on your hands. Once you remove from the oven and the edges stop bubbling, place your cake plate on top of the pan and in one movement while holding the plate and the pan together tightly, flip the pan and cake over onto your serving platter. Voila!
- Serve with a dollop of ice cream.