This Pear & Ginger Upside Down Cake dessert is a treat where a little goes a long way. Pears and ginger are made for each other. Pears are cooling to the body, while ginger aids digestion. This recipe is really quick to throw together. The trick is to have the butter soft and malleable. For best results, use a cast iron skillet if you have one.
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Grease an 8-inch skillet or cake tin with the used butter wrapper and the extra tablespoon of butter. Drizzle the greased pan with maple syrup and/or sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Arrange the pear quarters neatly on top in a swirl, with the narrow ends toward the middle. Set aside.
3. Put the softened butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla into a large mixing bowl. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, ginger, and allspice. Beat the mixture together with an electric whisk until well blended. If the mixture is stiff, add a little milk, a teaspoon at a time, to bring it to dropping consistency (where a small amount of the batter will fall off a spoon if gently shaken). Fold in the candied ginger.
4. Spoon the batter gently over the pears with a spatula and smooth lightly to cover them. Bake on a middle shelf for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
5. Let the cake sit for 5 minutes, then run a palette knife around the edge, set a plate over the cake and turn the whole thing upside down. Tap the skillet all over and lift it off the cake. You will have a cake with caramelized pear topping sitting on the plate! Serve warm with chopped candied ginger, and ice cream or a dollop of Greek yogurt.
You will need an 8-inch round cake tin (not spring-form) or an 8-inch cast iron skillet.
- 3 sweet pears, Anjou or Bosc, peeled, cored and quartered lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter at room temperature, softened, plus 1 tablespoon for the pan
- ⅓ cup fine brown sugar, plus extra for the pears
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (see Ann’s Tip)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 tablespoons milk, as needed
- ¼ cup candied ginger, chopped, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
Ann's Tips and Tricks
I don’t believe in substitutions in desserts. I’d rather eat less of something really good. Eat all sweet, sugary treats in moderation. A little bit of what you like does you good, but don’t eat the whole thing!
If you cannot find whole wheat pastry flour then substitute half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. Just swapping in whole wheat flour will result in a drier and grittier cake.