Carmelized Pear and Ginger Upside Down Cake


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar; firmly packed
2 tablespoons candied (crystallized) ginger; finely diced
3 small Firm but ripe Bosc pears; peeled, cored,

=== CAKE ===
4 tablespoons unsalted butter; softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
2 Eggs
1 1/4 cups Unbleached white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Milk

=== GARNISH ===
Sweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Brush some of it on the sides of a 9-inch round cake pan (not a springform). Mix the brown sugar into the butter in the saucepan and stir until melted. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and spread evenly.

Place pieces of the candied ginger evenly over the pan. Arrange the pear slices in a circle around the pan in the following way: Lay them on their rounded exteriors with the top tip of each slice pointing toward the center. Chop any remaining pear slices and use the pieces to fill the center of the circle.

To make the cake, place the 4 tablespoons of butter plus the sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. With an electric beater, cream the mixture until very smooth. Add the eggs and beat until fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and beat until combined. Add the milk and beat until smooth. Scrape the batter over the pears and smooth over the top.

Place the pan in the oven; place a baking sheet on the rack beneath it to catch any juices that might overflow. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the cake comes out clean. The cake will be a deep golden brown when done. Don’t worry if the top of the cake isn’t picture perfect — it will be turned upside down.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges by running a knife all around the cake. Lay a platter over the cake and invert. Cool to room temperature before serving as is or with a spoonful of whipped cream beside each piece.

Source: Jeanne Lemlin

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