Upside Down Pear Almond Cake

Few things in this world are as wonderful and refreshing as a perfectly ripe pear.  Okay, that might be a bit of an overstatement...but I just ate a slice of this cake and you'd be thinking the same thing if you had some too.  The cake has a buttery, almond flavor and the pear topping adds a fresh, sweet element that could cure any bad day.  This cake is so good, I'm sure even Rick Ross would approve!

Yields a 9-inch single layer cake.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick salted butter, melted
  • 1 stick salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 medium sized Bartlett pears, cored and thinly sliced (pears should be ripe, but still firm)
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Shortening and flour to grease the pan

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Use shortening and flour to prepare pan for baking and set aside.
  2. Mix together 1/2 stick melted butter, light brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Spread evenly across the bottom of the pan and layer pear slices on top in a circular pattern.
  3. In a food processor, blend almonds and powdered sugar until almonds are finely chopped. In a medium bowl, combine with flour, remaining cornstarch, baking powder, and remaining salt.
  4. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, combine remaining stick of butter, dark brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Scrape the bowl and add the eggs.  Mix for an additional minute.
  5. Add half of the dry mixture to mixture to the mixer.  Mix until just combined.  Add sour cream, heavy cream, almond extract, and vanilla extract.  Mix for another 30 seconds or so, and add the remaining dry mixture.  Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated, approximately 1-2 minutes.
  6. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, until cake is golden brown and a cake center inserted in the cake comes out clean.
  7. When desired doneness is reached, remove cake from oven and let cool in pan for 20-30 minutes.  Invert cake onto a cooling rack and let continue to cool.  If you like, you can line of cake border with sliced almonds...but this is completely optional!
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Fauxmartha.