You know, I’ve never been much of a pear eater.
I’m not sure why; I like them just fine. I just never think to buy them.
A couple times a year, though, some pears arrive on my doorstep, courtesy of my homeboys Harry and David. I usually try really hard to eat them all before they get overripe, but sometimes … well, I forget about them.
And that’s why you’re reading about a pear cake.
I got this recipe from the Pear Bureau Northwest, an organization that promotes pears. I figured if anyone knows a good pear cake recipe, it’d be these guys.
Sure enough, this is one tasty cake. The cake itself is speckled with cinnamon, and it’s topped — well, once you turn it upside down — with soft, brown-sugar-coated pears. Scatter some toasted walnuts on top, and you’ve got yourself a great autumnal cake.
The most time-consuming part of the process is peeling, coring and slicing the pears. If your pears are fairly firm and you’re handy with a knife, you probably won’t have any trouble. If you’re like me, though, and your pears are soft and mushy, and you are a complete spaz with a knife … it’s gonna take a while.
Just comfort yourself with the knowledge that all your effort will be rewarded with a really yummy cake.
Recipe: Cinnamon pear upside-down cake
- 10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, softened, divided
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 4 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup milk
- Walnuts for garnish (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350˚F. With 2 tablespoons of the butter, grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round pan.
- Pour the brown sugar into the pan, making sure the bottom is evenly coated. Lightly brush the pear slices with lemon juice and spread them across the bottom of the pan.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the sugar and the rest of the butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and the vanilla, and stir until combined. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk, stirring after each one. (Be careful not to overmix it!)
- Spread the cake batter evenly over the pears and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the sides of the cake start to pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 30 minutes; then quickly but carefully invert it onto a serving plate. Sprinkle with walnuts, if desired.
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