A Slice of Winter: Upside Down Pear Cake

Pear Cake

It's pear season and if you want to make a delicious cake made with pears then try this upside down pear cake! It's made with nutty browned butter and orange zest for a moist, delicious afternoon tea cake that is so simple but stunning! I called her Perrie.

Upside down cakes are fantastic if you love fruit rich cakes that look as good as they taste. I made this cake when I had lots of pears that just weren't ripening quickly enough. For this cake I have used a ground almond base; I love using almond meal in cakes because it makes them so moist and adds flavour to the cake too. This is the sort of cake that still remains moist after a few days time thanks to the pears on top and the almond meal in the cake itself.

Tips for Making this Pear Cake

Pear Cake

1 - Make sure pears are firm, ripe pears will become too mushy textured

Pear Cake

2- Use a melon baller to scoop out the centre of the pears. I learnt this tip from a despotic chef once and it's fantastic.

3 - Make sure that the centre of this cake bakes properly. The centre should no longer be wobbly and springs back when gently pressed.

4 - If you are allergic to nuts you can replace the almond meal with flour (same weight, make sure not to overmix). Or if you are gluten free then use a gluten free flour mix that you like and that has yielded good results for you.

5 - Store this cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. This cake can be frozen for up to 3 months.

The flowers in the background of these pictures are all of the flowers I received for my birthday from Mr NQN, the Elliotts and Queen Viv. When she asked Mr NQN what I wanted for my birthday he then asked me. I know that I'm hard to buy for as I have such specific taste but if there's one thing that always makes me happy, it's flowers. I got so many that my office smelled like a florist. Queen Viv and Miss America gave me my gifts over dinner and we caught up on each other's lives. Queen Viv is always up to something, usually slightly nefarious. And this evening she did not disappoint.

"I've got a fat rat to bury!" she exclaimed before adding context, "We've got a rat plague!". I always joke that I have a CIA file on Queen Viv about the things that she gets up to. I mimed opening up a folder and adding the rat burial to it. She laughed and said, "I must tell Michael (her son) that you're to make one of my speeches at my funeral." Because kooky Queen Viv does want to be remembered accurately for who she was.

"I actually have an idea for your funeral. All of the pallbearers must be handsome men," I told her. Her eyes shone excitedly. "I like that idea!" she said excitedly. She has declared many a time that her weakness is handsome men (which is possibly why she is still single as this does get her into strife at times). "I also want rockets!" she added. Miss America had to let her down gently. "We may be able to get the handsome men but it's probably no to rockets."

So tell me Dear Reader, what would you like at your funeral? What do you ask for for your birthday?

Pear Cake

Upside Down Pear Cake

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Serves: 8-10 people

  • 60g/2ozs golden syrup
  • 500g/1.1lbs pears (firm)
  • 100g/3.5ozs browned butter*
  • 100g/3.5ozs caster or superfine sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 100g/3.5ozs almond meal
  • 40g/1.4ozs plain all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 60ml/2flozs buttermilk

Pear Cake

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 160C/320F fan forced. Line the base and sides of a 19cm/7.5inch spring form tin and pour the golden syrup across the base. Peel the pears and halve them. Scoop out the seeds with a melon baller and trim the top and bottom and halve the pears again to make quarters. Lay them on top of the golden syrup and then cover to prevent the pears browning.

Step 2 -In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the melted, browned butter and sugar together on high speed for 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla bean paste and zest.

Pear Cake

Step 3 -In a jug or bowl whisk the almond meal, flour and baking powder together. Add this dry mixture to the wet mixture on low speed alternating with the buttermilk. Do not overmix, stop when the wet and dry are just combined. Spoon this cake batter on top of the pears spreading out to all sides with an angled spatula. Place on top of another tray (in case the syrup leaks out of the springform tin).

Pear Cake

Step 4 -Bake for 60 minutes then cover with foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the centre springs back when touched (make sure that the center is no longer wobbly!). Serve with ice cream.

Store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. This cake can be frozen for up to 3 months.

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