28 November 2011

upside down you're turning me

A little over a year ago, I was attempting to start a Mad Men evening at one of the neighborhood bars I frequented.  Though it didn't really work out the way I had hoped (a 10PM screening at a busy bar in Brooklyn isn't exactly calm and quiet enough to enjoy an hour long TV show,) I did serve up some wonderful 1960s themed treats in my attempt to make a party out of a regular Sunday night while watching my fave show without having to get cable.  While trying to find some delicious new old recipes, throwbacks if you will.  One retro recipe that I came across was for Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  The recipe from Elise at Simply Recipes turned out to be one of the best pineapple upside down cakes I've ever had... ever.  So much so that it's become one of my go to quick and easy entertaining cakes.  It was sweet, but not too sweet; nutty, caramelly, warm and fruity.  It was the perfect coffee cake, to be enjoyed warm with a cup of tea in the afternoon, or for a late breakfast while relaxing on a day off with the paper and some good friends and family.

In other words, the perfect breakfast to enjoy after a gluttonous day of turkey, gravy and all the fixins.  But pineapple upside down cake has always been more of a summery thing in my mind.  So to make a perfect post-Thanksgiving brunch treat, I seasoned it up.

pear upside down cake
looks like the fruit of the month club - pears every month!
Follow this recipe but instead of pineapple slices, use sliced pears.  I tend to be a little overzealous about everything so I used four different kind of pears and loaded the bottom of the pan with slices of bosc, bartlett, anjou and forelle.  Because I used so many pear slices, my cake pan didn't fit as much batter as it normally would so I made itty bitty upside down cakes in a cupcake tin with the leftover cake batter, some leftover caramel I found in the fridge and small slices of pear.  Substitute the ground almonds for 2 cups of finely ground walnuts.  Also, add about a tablespoon of cinnamon to the batter to give it that extra Autumnal kick.

Thankfully, I did a test run of this recipe at home in Brooklyn for a couple of friends the other night when we decided to have a last minute rainy night cake & champagne soiree.  Because if I hadn't tested it out beforehand, I would have wound up serving this mess to my entire family -

maybe the champagne was to blame and not the caramel...
it's a mystery.  a delicious mystery.

There is an art to the upside-downing of a cake.  The caramel hardens pretty quickly and if that happens before you flip the cake, you'll end up losing half the cake because it will all be stuck to the bottom of the pan.  If you flip it too soon however, the caramel is still hot lava melty and it breaks the cake into a million pieces.  You must be careful to time it perfectly!  Even though the cake crumbled a bit, it still tasted delicious and was perfect for a post Autumn celebration breakfast or coffee.  This cake is kind of like my original, prize winning cherry almond coffee cake - versatile and seasonal.  It just takes a little culinary creativity to make it fit every occasion.  And perfect timing.  It definitely takes that, too!

No comments:

Post a Comment