April 4, 2012

Saffron Scented Pear Upside Down Cake

I've had this recipe in my 'to be tested someday' book for about three years. Since I had a whole bunch of pears lying around, I figured I'd better give it a try. I modified the original recipe (not sure where it came from by now; probably Martha Stewart) to be diary and wheat-free. It turned out well - I was totally surprised by it, since I so rarely make any upside down cake. It really is fun to pop the cake out and see how the top turns out. When it came out, it really reminded me of a tarta one might find in Spain. They don't have many tall cakes - and they are often more earthy and imperfect, as this one is. They also rarely frost their cakes, much to my liking. 

This cake is dark, rich, and dense. It would make the perfect dessert for a more formal dinner or afternoon tea/coffee. You could even add it to a brunch. If you don't have saffron, make it without and it will still be very good. However, the saffron adds an exotic kick that elevates it from 'nice' to 'wow', if you know what I mean. 
  • Pinch of saffron 
  • 1 cup sugar (I used organic raw brown sugar - you can use that or regular white)
  • 1/4 cup butter (I used Earth Balance), softened 
  • 4 small pears, thinly sliced 
  • 1 1/3 flour (I used Bob's Red Mill all- purpose flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cups organic soy milk 
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (plus more for greasing the pan)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed + 6 tablespoons water (combine and set aside for at least 2 minutes)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a loaf pan with vegetable oil. 
  2. In a small bowl, mix saffron and 1/4 cup sugar together. Add the butter and combine well (I used my KitchenAid for this part). Spread mixture into the bottom of your loaf pan. 
  3. Arrange pears over the sugar mixture in your pan. 
  4. In a large bowl (or your cleaned out mixer bowl), whisk together flour, remaining 3/4 cups sugar, baking powder, ginger, and salt. 
  5. In a separate bowl, combine milk, flax seed mixture, vanilla. Slowly add to flour mixture and mix gently until combined. Spread over pears in your loaf pan. 
  6. Bake until set - 40 - 45 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes. Run a knife along the edges to loosen it. Place serving platter onto loaf pan and flip over so that cake comes out of loaf plan directly onto serving platter. If it doesn't pop out immediately, give it a minute or two. Still not out? it back back. 
  7. Serve. 

No comments: