I grew up eating my grandmother’s upside down pineapple cake, with prunes or candied cherries placed in the wholes of the pineapple slices. I even made it a couple of times when I started baking. But not until I became a food blogger did I learn that there are several other types of upside down cakes – I was amazed to know that one could bake those using different kinds of fruit! :D
I love learning new things. :)
While summer is away and I cannot bake this beautiful and delicious cherry and nectarine upside down cake – thanks for the inspiration, Jane! – I’ll stick to pears and chocolate. Very wintery and oh, so delicious.
Upside down pear chocolate cake
slightly adapted from the gorgeous Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More
1 cup (200g) superfine sugar
¼ cup (60ml) water
3 ripe but firm pears, peeled, cored and each cut into 12 wedges (450g/1 pound prepped)
¼ cup (56g) unsalted butter
112g (4oz) dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup (140g) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (30g) unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (150g) superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (120ml) whole milk, room temperature
Butter a 23cm (9in) round cake pan.
Start by making the fruit topping: put the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and stir until sugar dissolves lightly. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, just gently swirling the pan around occasionally, until the caramel becomes a dark amber color. Occasionally wash down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.
Carefully pour the caramel into the prepared cake pan and allow it to harden – be careful when handling the cake pan for it will be very hot from the caramel. Arrange the pears slices on top the caramel.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Make the cake: place the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat and melt, stirring occasionally. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Transfer the melted chocolate and butter to the large bowl of an electric mixer, add the sugar and beat in medium speed until creamy and well mixed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla. Using a spatula, mix in the dry ingredients alternating with the milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
Pour the batter over the pears and bake in the middle of the oven for 40-45 minutes or until the cake bounces back when lightly touched and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Cool in the pan over a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then carefully invert the cake onto a plate, leaving the pan on top of the cake for 5 minutes before removing it.
Serve warm with chantilly cream or vanilla ice cream – it is equally delicious at room temperature, on its own.
Cake will keep for up to 3 days wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature.
Serves 12-15 – I made the exact recipe above using a 20cm (8in) square cake pan and 6 very small pears (called “Ercolini”), halved and cored