Friday, January 28, 2011

Pear and Almond Upside-Down Cake

This cake is sooooo good. Make it now! It is actually kind of similar to a tarte tatin- you carmelize the pears in a cast-iron skillet before pouring the cake batter on top, and they get all delicious and buttery and browned. The cake batter itself has ground almonds in it, which gives it an extra something and really complements the pears. You could also make this cake with apples.

Pear and Almond Upside-Down Cake

Recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
The Pears:
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large pears
For the Cake:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 eggs, room temperature
2/3 cups blanched almonds, ground finely in food processor
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Peel and core the pears. Slice into 1/4 slices.
3. In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, melt the butter and sugar over medium heat until sugar is melted and mixture is smooth (just starting to bubble). Remove from heat.Carefully overlap pear slices in sugar, covering the whole pan.
4. In mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and almond extract. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down bowl after each addition. Stir in nuts, then remaining dry ingredients.
5. Spoon batter over pears and spread evenly with offset spatula.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until cake is golden brown and springy to touch. Cool for 10 minutes, then turn cake out onto platter (make sure to hold both the skillet and plate when flipping). Serve warm.


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