Monday, November 24, 2014

Pear Ginger Upside-Down Cake with Whipped Cream

     Looking for something to please your family this Thanksgiving?
     This is the perfect Thanksgiving, or anytime Autumn cake! 
   I hope you try it for your Thanksgiving breakfast this year, or perhaps as a simple (but delightful) dessert after your Thanksgiving meal. It is one of my favorite cakes now! If you love pears, or ginger, or just coffee cakes in general, you will enjoy this treat.

Pear Ginger Upside-Down Cake with Whipped Cream
(Mazzou-version adapted from original recipe by Rebecca Rather from the cookbook The Pastry Queen Christmas- a favourite cookbook of ours by the way, with a variety of dishes, not just desserts!)

   Make sure you have an appropriate dish in which to create this delightful dessert. You need one with 2-inch tall sides. 
  Our family used a ceramic dish which was about 9-inch square, and taller than 2 inches. Worked well. This is one of our favourite yet easiest cakes to whip up! Can be served warm or cool. You just can't go wrong with this cake!

Serves: 6 to 8

•1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
•1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
•2 to 3 ripe but firm pears, such as Anjou or Bartlett
•2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger (if you don't have this on hand, see alternative at bottom of post!*)

•1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature (plus a tiny bit to grease sides of pan)
•1 cup granulated sugar
•2 large eggs
•1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
•1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
•1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
•1/2 cup milk
•2 teaspoons vanilla extract
•3 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger ( If you don't have this on hand, see note below! *)

Whipped Cream - recipe below

You need a 9 or 10-inch cake pan with sides that are at least 2 inches tall.

To make the topping:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. (Grease sides of pan with a little extra butter. I think I also gave a hint of butter to the bottom of the pan, since I didn't want the carmelizing brown sugar to stick in the following part)...
2. Put the butter and brown sugar in the cake pan and place it in the oven until melted and bubbly, about 10 minutes.
3. Core the pears (no need to peel them) and cut them into 1/4-inch thick slices.
4. Remove the pan from the oven, stir to combine the butter and sugar, and arrange the pears on top of the mixture in a circular pattern. Don't worry if you end up with a second layer of pears. Sprinkle the candied ginger (or gingered pear bits*) evenly over the pears.

To make the cake:
1.  Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the eggs and beat for another 30 seconds.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.
4. To the butter mixture, add the flour mixture in 3 increments alternating with the milk in two increments, starting and ending with the flour, beating on low speed between each addition.
5. Stir in the vanilla and candied ginger. (or gingered pear bits*)
6. Pour the batter evenly over the pears. Bake for about 45 minutes if using a 10-inch pan and about 55 minutes for a 9-incher. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Remove from the oven and immediately (or within 5 minutes but no longer!) invert onto a large cake plate. Let cool for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the whipped cream.

Whipped Cream
•1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
•1/8 cup powdered sugar (optional)
•2 tsp. vanilla extract
Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla.

Serve the cake, slightly warm, with the whipped cream alongside.
Serves: 6 to 8

-Serve with vanilla icecream- delicious!
- Serve with entirely unsweetened whipped cream
-Thirdly, if you must, you may serve this with whipped topping.

*Gingered Pear bits*
-1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
-2 pears, preferably not too ripe, chopped
- honey (about 2 Tablespoons, depending on how much ginger you use)
-dried ginger  (about 3 tsp.)
-optional: chopped fresh ginger
This is a play-by-taste little recipe!
   Using a small pot, heat the butter and add the chopped pear with the honey. Heat until bubbling, making sure  honey doesn't burn!
   Add ginger in increments, tasting as you go. You may need to add more honey! That is fine. Your goal is a strong ginger flavour with a bit of chew/crunch. Think candied ginger...
I will try to get a real recipe written up soon! Next time I make this delicious cake for my family!

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