Saturday, November 12, 2011

Spiced Pear Upside-Down Cake

I love how this cake shines like the star that it is. It's a nice spin on the Tarte Tatin concept - caramel layer over fruit embedded in a buttery cake, baked upside down and flipped out of the pan onto a serving platter.

Add the fall spices and maple syrup, and the fact that it is an easily-executed success with good texture to the cake, and it's a winner in my book. I think apples could be substituted for the pears; I actually prefer this recipe to all the Tarte Tatins I've tried making thus far. While I continue my quest for a tasty but easy Tarte Tatin, this will work nicely.

Spiced Pear Upside Down Cake

12 T plus 5 T unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2/3 C brown sugar
2 T maple syrup
2 ripe pears (Bartlett or Anjou preferred), peeled, halved, and cored
3/4 C plus 1 T granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom or nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 C milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.

With a wooden spoon, vigorously beat the 5 T butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup in a mixing bowl until well blended. Spread the mixture over the bottom of the buttered cake pan.

Cut the pear halves into 1/4-inch slices and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with the 1 T granulated sugar, cinnamon, cardamom/nutmeg, and cloves and stir gently to coat. Arrange the pears in the bottom of the pan, fanning them and overlapping them slightly so the narrower ends point outward, and filling in the gaps with the smaller pieces (it never looks neat when I arrange fruit!).

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Pour the milk and vanilla into a glass measuring cup.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining 12 T butter and 3/4 C granulated sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. With the speed on low, add the flour in 3 additions, adding half of the milk mixture between each flour addition. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix for 2 minutes.

Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly over the pears with a rubber spatula. Bake 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

Once finished baking, immediately loosen the sides of the cake from the pan with a butter knife. Place a large plate (at least 10 inches in diameter) upside down over the cake pan and carefully flip the cake out onto the plate, lifting the pan off the cake (shaking it if necessary to unstick it). Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

  1. I've made this a couple of times and it's delicious! People are always surprised to see pear highlighted in a baked good, but there were rave reviews for this cake. I made it again tonight and some of the yummy caramelly juices overflowed from the pan. Some smokiness from the oven, but fortunately the smoke alarm didn't go off and the cake was still extremely tasty. :)