Recipe for upside down pear cake, and an anniversary
Today my blog is three years old.
I made cake.
Actually the cake part is an accident. No, that’s not right either. I had planned a cake post today anyway, and thus the birthday coincidence is pure serendipity, a nice bonus.
It gives me a chance to pause for a moment and take a look at the last three years.
Since my first not-so-interesting post, I’ve imported a fiance from Uruguay, and then married him, then later made him a fancy birthday cake, and the following year a simpler one. We’re still married, thanks for asking.
Then I embarked on a field trip to research a book called Seasonal Markets of the Heartland, and wrote a lot of posts about farmers. I am still writing the book, heaven help me. But on the home stretch, thanks for asking.
And I was kept humble by my vegetable garden at Pinecone Meadow Farm. Good thing I know some farmers who can keep me in food.
A lot of other things happened. I went to DC to be a grant reviewer for the Farmers Market Promotion Program, and went to Wisconsin to visit artisan cheese makers. But really too many things to talk about now, with cake on my mind.
As we head to Thanksgiving, this is a good time to mention how grateful I feel for the kindred spirits I’ve come to know through this blog, both online and in person, the generous souls who have encouraged me, swapped recipes and stories, and generally made the effort worth, well, the effort.
So about the cake.
I was messing about in the kitchen and decided to try a blonder version of a pear upside down cake. Typically I want my pears as a refreshing foil to dark spices and molasses, like this one, but on this day I wanted something with a more subtle flavor. Or maybe I’m just adapting to my husband’s preference for simple (ok, bland) flavors. But this cake is no where near bland. It’s just lighter, more subtle, letting the pear flavor take the lead without competition.
A little detail - the tiny flecks on the cake in the photo are vanilla seeds. I used leftover vanilla oil from Browntrout’s parsnip pear soup. A delicious way to never let anything go to waste. Your own fruity olive oil will be just as delicious if not as fancy.
The garnish is simple whipped cream, along with a bit of chopped pears cooked with a few tablespoons of sugar. One more thing. I find it’s best to make the cake batter first, then cut up the pears and arrange them in the pan. Making the cake in this order preserves the color of the pears.
Pear upside down cake
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pear cored, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil an 8-inch cake pan and line bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Set aside. Whisk together flour with salt, baking powder and baking soda in a small mixing bowl.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat sugar and eggs until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add olive oil, yogurt and vanilla and continue beating until combined. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and mix just until combined.
Pour the two tablespoons of olive oil into the prepared pan and tilt to cover evenly. Sprinkle with sugar, then arrange pears in a circle, slightly overlapping. Pour the batter over the pears and bake in the center of the oven until golden and a skewer comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
Tags: pear cake