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Saturday, September 4, 2010

caramelized pear upside-down cake

This recipe for Caramelized Pear (actually apple, but either work just as well) Upside-Down Cake is one of my favorite dessert recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegetarian Classics by Jeanne Lemlin.  Even though I have about a billion cookbooks, I rarely use them.  Most of my favorite recipes, the things I find myself making over and over again, are recipes I've collected in a 3 ring binder from friends & family, the internet, and magazines.  But this book is the exception.  Everything I have made from it has been exquisite.  As a very visual person, I usually gravitate towards recipes with pictures.  If it looks good, I'll make it.  This book, aside from the corn chowder on the front cover (which is, trust me, also divine!), has zero pictures.  Not one.  I've had it for years, so I don't even know what possessed me to buy it in the first place, except, most likely, that corn chowder on the front.  But buy it I did, and I have never regretted it.  It is my go-to book when I'm not sure what to make.  The recipes are straightforward and classic, not fussy, and use ingredients I have actually heard of (and know where to buy), which can be a problem with vegetarian cookbooks.  (I have been a vegetarian for almost 20 years and I still don't know what Seitan is, how on earth to cook it, or where I could find it in the grocery store.)  Better yet, the recipes are all vegetarian, but still hearty and "normal" enough to please my self-proclaimed "simple guy" meat-eating husband.

So without further ado, here is the recipe:

Caramelized Pear (or Apple) Upside-Down Cake

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash nutmeg
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced apples, such as Cortland, MacIntosh, or Macoun (about 3 small apples);
 (alternatively, you can use 3 small ripe but still firm pears.)

The Cake:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  (I always use the convection setting on my oven because it seems to cook more evenly.)  Lightly butter the sides of a 9-inch round cake pan.

2.  Combine the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small saucepan and boil 30 seconds.  Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Sprinkle the apples all over and press them down slightly to level them.

3.  To make the cake, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until very smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

4.  Sprinkle in the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt, and beat 10 seconds.  Pour in the milk and beat just until the batter is evenly moistened, about 1 minute.  Spoon teh batter over the apples and smooth the top.

5.  Bake approximately 50 minutes (watch closely if using convection setting!), or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out dry.  Run a knife along the outer edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan.  Place a plate over the cake, then flip it over to invert the cake onto the pan.  Let the cake cool completely before serving.

Best served the day it is made, but can be kept up to a day covered at room temperature.

As I noted in my previous entertaining on a budget post, it is a great dessert for guests, especially when paired with a nice cheese plate!

Have a great weekend!

(P.S.  This is not an advertisement or a paid review.  I've had this book for at least 5 years.  I just really like it & wanted to share!)


  1. Hi there, I'm your newest follower via Boost your blog Friday.

    Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Marie (hope you'll come by for a visit sometime, I love new followers.)
    The Things We Find Inside

  2. That looks delicious. Visiting from the Blog Hops! I love your site. I can't wait to get to know you better. Stop by when you get the chance. I have a Meet Me Monday blog hop and I would love if you could join in. Hope to see you then!


  3. Sounds delicious! I am your latest follower:)


  4. Thanks for the recipe, Ruth!

    Following you now from Sunday Strolling! Please follow me back on my new Facebook fan page or blog:



  5. I am a new follower! I am here from Pink Dandy Sunday blog hop!

    Oooh, that cake looks so good!!

  6. Hello!I am a new follower from the blog hop! Hope you can stop by and visit my blog.

    Have a great Labor Day Weekend! :D

  7. I am definitely gonna give the recipes a try, looks very tasty lol thank you!

  8. THANKS for posting the recipe. This looks awesome! Stop in and link it up in my recipe tab (please) now that you have it posted on your blog!!! My readers will love it and will click over to visit you!!!


  9. cornmeal? it doesn't mention that in the measurements.

  10. Oh my goodness, you are absolutely right! I listed flour twice. The recipe should have listed 3tbsp. cornmeal. It is fixed now--thank you so much for catching that. I sincerely apologize to anyone who may have made this recipe already!


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