Difficulty: Easy, unless your tin leaks / Time: 1 hour / Materials: Cake Ingredients, as listed, Cake Tin, Oven, OVEN LINER
Ruth and I are both a little obsessed with The Great British Bake Off, and on the first episode a couple of weeks ago the 12 intrepid bakers tackled Upside Down Cakes. Having never made one before, I logged it away under the “to bake one day” category in my brain. Then, this past weekend, Colin and our mate John did some urban fruit picking and came home with a few kgs of (free) pears, so I thought Pears + Upside Cake = good idea.
I had used a spring tin for the cake and lined it with paper on the bottom. Thinking I was really clever, I decided to use a piece of baking paper larger than the tin and then have it sticking out of the ring. The idea was to doubley ensure the caramelly bottom/top wouldn’t stick, but turns out that actually undid all the good of the spring tin tight fit!
So I opened up the oven to find caramel has leaked all over the bottom of the oven (thank you friend Heather for buying us an oven liner as part of a wedding gift x1million!) After a few eeks, I transferred the cake onto a tray, and it then cooked somewhat happily for the rest of the time.
Whether it was because of the forementioned leakage factor, or because I did it wrong, the cake didn’t turn out quite as caramelly as I was hoping. Kinda just looks like a rather pale upside down cake. But anywho, Col the cake tester liked it, and I now have one big bag minus three pears to go!
Can’t say I’m overly sold on the whole upside down cake thing. Not sure if it’s because I have a slight aversion to warm cake, or if it’s because I dropped it trying to transfer it to the plate (oooops!), but will try another one for the neighbours and see if I can improve my baking skillz…
Pear Upside Down Cake
11 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup maple syrup (substitute agave syrup)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 Bosc pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a small pan over medium heat; add maple syrup and brown sugar and cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and cook for another 2 minutes; remove from heat and set aside. When mixture has cooled a bit, pour it into a 9-inch baking pan and arrange pear slices in an overlapping circle on top (or whatever works with your size of slices).
With a handheld or standing mixer, beat remaining 8 tablespoons butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, one egg at a time, continuing to mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture in three batches, alternating with milk; do not over-mix. Carefully spread batter over pears, using a spatula to make sure it is evenly distributed. Bake until top of cake is golden brown and edges begin to pull away from sides of pan, about 45 to 50 minutes; a toothpick inserted into center should come out clean. Let cake cool for 5 minutes.
Run a knife around edge of pan; put a plate on top of cake and carefully flip it so plate is on bottom and pan is on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.