Friday, February 12, 2010


I hope you will consider making this caramel pear upside down cake for your Valentine sweetheart. Served warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, it will knock his/her socks off. Fresh Bosc pears, are baked in a homemade caramel sauce while a ginger-cinnamon cake bakes on top. This recipe has a couple of extra steps (to make the caramel sauce) but it is not hard to do. It is the most moist cake I've ever made.

Preheat your oven to 350F and spray a 9" x 2" cake pan with vegetable spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and then spray it again.

2 large firm-ripe Bosc pears (about 1 pound)
1 cup white sugar
¼ teaspoon lemon juice
¼ cup cold water
4 tablespoons warm butter (cut up)

Peel, core and slice the pears in ¼" slices. Arrange the slices in the bottom of the pan, set aside. Make the caramel in a heavy bottomed 2 quart sauce pan. Stir sugar, lemon juice and cold water together. Bring to a boil over medium high heat (occasionally brush the walls of the pan with a wet pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals). Boil, stirring, until it starts to turn amber. Watch carefully, once it starts to turn color, because it will darken quickly. Remove from heat and stir in the butter (it will really foam and sputter, so be careful). When it is well mixed, pour over the pear slices, set aside.
1½ cups all purpose flour
1¾ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup butter (room temperature)
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon together, set aside. In another small bowl, mix milk and vanilla extract, set aside.
With electric mixer, beat the room temperature butter for one minute, or until it is light and fluffy; add brown sugar and beat on high for 3 minutes. Reduce speed and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl once in a while.
Now you need to mix in the milk mixture and the flour mixture, but make sure you alternate (dry...milk...dry...milk etc.). Scrape down the bowl and give it one final mix but don't mix too long. Pour the batter over the caramel-pears.

Bake at 350F for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert on a serving plate and peel off the parchment paper. Cool.

Happy Valentines Day!!
NOTE: Do not make this in a springform pan because the caramel sauce might leak out.

NOTE: Bosc pears are a "baking pear".