Pear Cardamom Upside-Down Cake

Pear Cardamom Upside-Down Cake

Pear Cardamom Upside-Down Cake

Recipe created by Molly Sullivan, granddaughter of Joseph Phelps.

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This subtly spiced cake pairs beautifully with Joseph Phelps Eisrébe, Napa Valley. Use pears that will hold their shape when baked such as Anjou, Bosc and French Butter varieties. For a festive garnish, top cake with fresh pomegranate seeds before serving.

¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup packed light brown sugar
4 medium or 3 large pears, peeled, cored and sliced ½ inch thick
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk

Note: To make this recipe in a 9-inch round cake pan instead of a cast-iron skillet, simply make the brown sugar-butter mixture in a saucepan and pour into cake pan before allowing to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt ¼ cup butter in 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add brown sugar. Cook and stir until the sugar is melted and bubbly. Remove pan from heat and cool completely. Arrange pear slices in skillet or cake pan, peeled side down, in a concentric circle.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom. In a stand mixer, or larger bowl with hand mixer, cream remaining ½ cup butter with the granulated sugar. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, while continuing to beat. Alternately add dry ingredients and milk to the butter mixture. Beat until just combined.

Spread cake batter over pears and bake 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes before turning over onto a large plate.

Serve warm or at room temperature with freshly whipped cream and chilled Eisrébe.