Sunday, November 19, 2006

Upside-down Pear Gingerbread

Time for a change. Ray thinks the last few cakes have all fallen into the same category: some sort of spice cake/pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. For him, they were all blending together.

I love the upside-down cake concept. So far though, my forays into it have been limited to the routine pineapple upside-down cake. Upside-down Pear Gingerbread is another Jeanne Lemlin recipe. It has always sounded a little weird to me, as I leaf past it, looking for some dessert to catch my eye. This time, however, I finally stopped, read the recipe more carefully, and decided to go for it. When you are trying to make more cakes, you just have to throw caution to the wind occasionally, and make some cakes you might otherwise turn your nose up at or skip right past.

Seemingly complicated: building the cake from the top up (top down?), the careful slicing and placing of the fruit on the bottom of the cake pan, holding your breath and waiting to see if the inversion event will actually work out, upside down cake is in fact pretty easy.

Okay, placing the fruit on the bottom is easy if you are just pulling pineapple slices out of a can… in this case, I actually had to slice the pears myself and then decoratively arrange them. In truth, the hardest part for me was finding pears that are just the right ripeness, and that would also hopefully taste okay. Those of you who know me well know that I absolutely suck at picking good fruit and generally have a very low sense of self worth in this department. Lucky for me, Karen said she had some perfect pears, and so I used hers rather than the ones I had made Ray get for me at Vitamin Cottage. Thank you, Karen.

I set out to make this a short entry, as I am several cakes (entries) behind at this point, and figured I needed to get this up, so I can get on to posting the next cake (already made and eaten) before I make a new one (which could happen at any time). But, already, we’re several paragraphs in, and I haven’t even talked about the finished product.

I thought this cake was beautiful. I’ll let Ray tell you what he thought…. I also thought it tasted great. Moist, tasty gingerbread. Can we consider gingerbread to be cake? Then, topping the lovely gingerbread were the now soft and buttery sugary soaked pears, embedded in slightly caramelized and sometimes crispy buttery sugary bits. Alden wanted nothing to do with the pears, but the cake still got a favorable review from him. We served it with fresh, lightly sweetened whipped cream.


cake eater said...

I really loved the upside down pear gingerbread cake. I think it's my favorite cake so far. It looked beautiful and tasted even better. Samantha loved it, but not as much as Clarissa's wacky cake. I can hardly wait for the next cake!!

Spgonahan said...

Yup, this one was really good, it kinda tasted like it should've been doused with brandy and set on fire. Some sort of booze was specified for the whipped cream, but C held off on that because she thought we shouldn't cultivate a tast for rum in our 6 year olds. What a hard-ass!

Clarissa said...

er, actually, I think it was 'cake-eater' who recommended NO rum in the whip cream.

not sure WHAT it is about the cake that makes Ray want to douse it with liquor.

tuna said...

I made this cake over the weekend and I have a few things to say about it. First, it really is easy to make, using mostly ingredients you have in your kitchen anyway. It's very moist and has a lovely dark taste (though it possible that some of the moistness was owing to its being undercooked - the buttery-sugary topping around the pears was yummy but it didn't tase candyish the way Rissa says hers did). The pears add to the moistness and have a lovely texture BUT they were virtually tasteless. Unlike Clarissa I am a good fruit chooser, and I used Bosc which were good and ripe but not too ripe, so I don't think I did anything wrong. Would I make the cake again? I think so, though I'm still pondering whether the pear part works or if some other fruit would be better. Pineapple, in the traditiional form this cake takes, has a more distinctive taste - I wonder how that would meld with the ginger?

Tuna (aka Clarissa's mom)