Many moons ago, I think I mentioned that most Wednesdays I meet up for a coffee with a number of other parents from my children’s school. Yesterday was no different (though it was the first of the new school year)… hot coffees and teas sipped and relished, conversations criss-crossing the table, laughter permeating the air. Then, a wonderful surprise when John (one of the Dads) pulled from his bag a number of packages holding beautiful little pears, plucked from his tree at home to share with us all. The gift of produce or food is always something that excites me and that I’m truly grateful for. A couple of these sweet, ripe pears were munched as nature intended, but the rest were set aside in anticipation of making something extra delicious this morning.
There are days when I’m happy to just follow along with a recipe… it will usually be one that appears perfect as it is, requiring no tweaking whatsoever. Then there are days like today, when I’m open to a little experimentation, to see what may come… you just never know when you might hit on a winner. The flavour combination of pear, almond and olive oil to be transformed into a cake was floating around my head… and so this is what finally came to be.
A Pear and Almond Upside-Down Cake that is beautifully moist and flavourful. The slivered almonds give the topping such a great texture, that match so well with the fruitiness of the pears. It doesn’t sit very tall… a little more like a Tarte Tatin… but presents wonderfully on the plate all the same.
My very sincere thanks to John for his delightful gift!
Pear and Almond Upside-Down Cake | Gather and Graze
- 60g (¼ Cup) Unsalted Butter
- 115g (½ Cup) Raw Caster Sugar
- 3 Small Ripe Pears (Peeled, Cored and Quartered)
- 2 Tablespoons Slivered Almonds
For the cake batter:
- 125g (½ Cup) Unsalted Butter (Softened)
- 115g (½ Cup) Raw Caster Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Free-Range Egg
- 100g (⅔ Cup) Plain Flour (Sifted)
- 40g (⅓ Cup) Ground Almonds
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- Pinch of Salt
- 60ml/¼ Cup Milk
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
I used a (23cm) Le Creuset cast iron braising dish to bake this cake in, though a similar sized (greased and lined) cake tin would work just as well.
To make the caramel:
In the cast iron dish (or a small saucepan, if you’ll be using a cake tin to bake in) melt the butter and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for a minute or two. Remove from the heat, arrange the pear quarters in a pattern over the top and scatter, between the gaps, with the slivered almonds. Set aside for the moment.
If using a cake tin, pour the caramel evenly over the base of your greased and lined cake tin and arrange the pears and almonds on top, as suggested above. Set aside for the moment.
Now for the cake batter:
Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract and egg. Combine the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt in a bowl, then fold it in to butter/egg mixture in two lots, alternating with the milk and olive oil.
Spoon the cake batter over the top of the pears and using the back of a spoon or a knife, spread it over evenly to cover. Bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes until golden on top and cooked through. A good sign is when it’s just starting to pull away from the sides of the baking dish (or cake tin).
Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before carefully turning out onto a cake plate. Serve warm or at room temperature with some double cream on the side.
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Like Francesca, I love the combination of almonds and pears. A wonderful cake!
Thank you so much Sabine! Almonds and pears really do work so well together! 🙂
Oh how I love an upside down cake. This sounds VERY good!!
Very kind of you to say so… thanks! 🙂
Oooh this looks interesting! I love pineapple upside down cake. Never tried with pear. Im sure it wil taste yummy!
Thank you very much Sadia! 🙂
The caramelized tops on upside down cakes is the best part for me! Yum!! 🙂
Oh I absolutely agree! Thanks Matea! 🙂
How lovely to receive a batch of pears and such beautiful ones at that, no wonder you felt inspired to create something! I love your addition of almond to the sponge – it must have gone wonderfully with the caramel and pears 🙂
Thanks Trix… it’s always a lovely surprise to be offered home-grown produce! Made my day! 🙂
This looks fantastic!
Very kind of you to say… thanks! Welcome to Gather and Graze.
You are welcome Gather and Graze. 🙂
Omg Margot! This cake looks so good, and what a smart idea cooking it in this pot… the shape is absolutely perfect!
Thanks so very much Margherita! The Le Creuset pot worked so well… I’ll be looking for more and more ways to cook with it from now on! Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. 🙂
Margot, that looks absolutely marvelous. I will have to keep it in mind for next time, I have pears at home. Have a wonderful weekend!
Thank you Linda! I’ll certainly be making this again… especially with the pears just coming in to season… the family really loved it! Je te souhaite un bon weekend aussi mon amie! 🙂
Looking crazy gorgeous and yummy, Margot! Love the combination of pears and almond. Even if I don’t have a sweet tooth, I’m pretty sure this could be my kind of cake. Bookmarking it!
The first picture is amazing and the pears’ one? Perfect to be turn into a painting! 🙂
Ahh, that’s lovely Francesca… I’m so happy to know that this cake appeals to you! That tooth fairy really is a bit shonky… she neglected to give you a sweet tooth at all, though seems to have given me 2 (or maybe even 3) of them! 😉
The pear photo was a funny one – I tried to get them to all stand up proudly, but the one on the left was intent to lean over like a little old man trying to eavesdrop on a conversation. 🙂 Rather sweet, I thought…
Hmmm, perhaps I shouldn’t be voicing what my over-active imagination tells me. 😉 I really am quite normal… and sane!
Wow, that cake looks mouthwateringly beautiful, Margot! Yum, I wish I could have a slice with a cup of Early Grey… 🙂
Thank you so much Stefano! Yes… absolutely perfect with a cup of tea! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
I too get pleasantly surprised when I receive a home grown produce. And, look what you have done with the beautiful pears. I love this post, Margot, and I can smell this gorgeous cake.
Thank you Fae! I’d love to have been able to offer you a slice… 🙂
Looks so amazing!
Sweet of you to say so – thanks Sonal!
Grief, it really is that time of year. Fresh pears. And plucked off a tree. Love ’em when they’re perfectly ripe and juicy. I just don’t like them turning black on me during prep. Any advice to stop them oxidising, apart from lemon juice? As for the cake, I haven’t had upside-down cake in years. And I love the idea of the cross between a tatin and almond cake (I’ve forgotten the term, frangipane?). I’ve just baked a granola bar and the coconut shortbread in the round tonight so I won’t be baking until next week again. 🙂
Ahh yes, autumn is definitely on it’s way! The figs can’t be too far off now either… 🙂
I worked pretty quickly with these pears, peeling them at the very last moment to avoid them going brown, but other than that… lemon juice would be my ‘go to’ solution (perhaps diluted with a little water). I’ll be making this cake again soon – it disappeared in record speed… and all except my ‘nut-hating’ child absolutely loved it! Actually that’s a little unfair… he will actually eat salted pistachios and maple-coated pecans. Perhaps just a bit picky… 😉 Enjoy your weekend Johnny!
Mmmm delicious. I love upside down cakes with all sort of different fruits and have a number in my repetoire. Pear is my favourite though. I like the sound of the olive oil cake, something I must try
Thanks Sandra, the olive oil (along with the ground almonds) gave it great flavour and lots of moisture too. This was my first upside-down cake, but there’ll be plenty more to come! Have a great weekend!
This looks divine!
Thanks very much Merideth and a warm welcome to Gather and Graze!