An awesomely moist gingerbread cake topped with caramelized pears? I’m so there. This gingerbread pear upside down cake is exceptionally tasty and must be one of the most perfect holiday cake recipes around.
It started with a poor lonely pear, just sitting there in the fruit bowl, neglected. “I outta bake something with that pear,” I said to myself. Except when I talk to myself, I don’t think I use the word “outta.” But then again, I don’t pay all that much attention to myself and exactly what I’m saying.
So I thought about a chocolate pear cake… then I thought about gingerbread… then I thought about pears and gingerbread, then I thought about gingerbread pear muffins, then I thought about an upside down pear gingerbread cake. And it was good. In my head, that is.
Of course, it seems there’s rarely, if ever, a truly original idea these days, and so when I googled “upside down pear gingerbread cake,” whammo – those Epicurious jerkheads had already done it!
So I used their (awesome) recipe, with a couple minor adaptations (like dark molasses and light corn syrup in place of the light molasses). Oh yes. It was good.
The intensity of the dark molasses and spices balance perfectly with the sweetness of the caramelized pear. And it’s awesomely moist. And accompanied with some whipping cream or vanilla bean ice cream? Totally divine, and perfect fall fare.
Gingerbread Pear Upside Down Cake
Gingerbread Pear Upside Down Cake
Bottom (which will ultimately be the top)
- 2 pears - can be somewhat ripe to pretty darn ripe
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dark molasses
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup boiling water
- Preheat oven to 350. Use a 10-inch cast iron skillet, or according to Epicurious, you can use a 12-inch non-stick skillet if you wrap the handle in a double layer of foil.
- Peel pears and cut into quarters. Remove the core portion, and slice each quarter lengthwise into four slices.
- Heat the skillet to medium on the stove top and melt 1/4 cup butter. Cook butter until the foam on top of the butter starts to go away.
- Reduce heat to low, and sprinkle the 3/4 cup packed brown sugar onto the butter. Let the brown sugar sit in the butter, without stirring, for three minutes.
- Carefully lay the pears into a circle in the sugar mixture.
- Leave the pears in the skillet (don't stir), still over low heat, for a couple more minutes, then remove from heat.
- Time to make the cake batter! Beat the 1/2 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and egg in a large bowl.
- Boil the water, and stir in the corn syrup and molasses. Remove from heat.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt over the butter, egg, and sugar mixture, and mix on slow speed just until it begins to blend together.
- Slowly pour the molasses, corn syrup, and water mixture into the batter, while mixing on low speed, just until well blended.
- Pour the cake batter into the skillet, over all that pear and brown sugar goodness. The batter should be runny enough where it evens out naturally, but if it doesn't, just spread it out evenly.
- Place the skillet in your preheated (350 degrees) oven, and bake 40 to 50 minutes. Insert a toothpick (or actual cake tester if you're way cooler than me - I use a toothpick or, in especially desperate times, a raw spaghetti noodle, what can I say) into the center. When it comes out clean (no cake batter), it's done!
- Cool the cake on a rack for 5 minutes. Slip a knive around the edges to loosen for the flipping, and invert onto a cake plate.