Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread Cake
- 2 1/2 firm pears (preferably Bosc)
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup molasses (preferably mild)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- To make the Topping: Peel and core pears and cut each into 8 wedges.
- Melt the butter in a well-seasoned 10-inch skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides. Reduce the heat to low, then sprinkle brown sugar over bottom of skillet and cook, undisturbed, 3 minutes (not all sugar will be melted).
- Arrange pears decoratively over sugar and cook, undisturbed, 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- To make the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the molasses and boiling water in a small bowl.
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and until creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Alternately mix in the flour mixture and molasses in 3 batches at low speed until smooth. Pour the batter over the topping in the skillet, spreading evenly and being careful not to disturb pears.
- Bake in the middle of the preheated 350 degrees F oven until a tester comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Cool cake in skillet on a rack for 5 minutes.
- Run a thin knife around edge of skillet, then invert a large plate with a lip over skillet and, using pot holders to hold skillet and plate tightly together, invert cake onto plate. Replace any pears that stick to skillet.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Yield: 1 cake in 10-inch skillet; serves 6
Source: Gourmet Magazine, February, 2002; posted by LuAnn B., a.k.a. "Tofu Queen."