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Pear-Ginger Upside-Down Cake with Whiskey Whipped Cream

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Serves 6-8 | Prep Time 20-30 | Cook Time 20-25

Why I Love This Recipe

This was inspired by my neighbors, Celeste and Jory, who had a fantastic harvest of Bosc pears in their parking strip this year. They had so much, there was enough for them, us, their friends and lots of others. It was a lovely gift, and we thank them.

Ingredients You'll Need

Topping of caramelized pears:

3 Medium Bosc Pears, sliced in half

.25 cup sugar

.25 stick butter

1 Tablespoon crystallized ginger, chopped finely


1.5 Cups all-purpose flour

1.5 teaspoons Baking Powder

.5 teaspoon ground Cardamom (preferably freshly ground)

.25 teaspoon grated Nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)

1 inch ginger root (peeled and grated) Make sure it is very fresh and plump.

.25 teaspoons salt

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

.75 cup sugar, preferably raw or demerara

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 large egg

.75 cup whole milk

Whiskey Whipped Cream:

1 cup whipping cream, chilled

1 teaspoon sugar, preferably raw or demerara

.5 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon whiskey, infused with crystallized ginger*

*I like to pour out .5 cup good sipping whiskey and infuse 1.5 Tablespoons crystallized ginger for 2 hours or overnight. Use the remaining whiskey from this recipe to sip or pour over vanilla ice cream. It also adds some zip to a pumpkin loaf.


Preheat oven to 375F

Caramelize the pears:

Peel pears, split lengthwise and core. Dip cut sides into sugar. Reserve any remaining sugar.

Melt butter in a seasoned heavy 10-inch cast-iron skillet over low-to moderate heat on the stovetop until it stops foaming. Arrange pears, symmetrically, sugar side , with remaining sugar on the skillet until the sugar begins to caramelize to a golden color. At that point, remove the skillet from the cooktop and sprinkle with the crystallized ginger.

Make the cake:

Whisk the flour, baking powder, cardamom, nutmeg and salt. Beat the butter, sugar and ginger pulp in a bowl with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and beat until well combined. Add flour mixture and milk, alternating. Mix at low speed and just until combined.

Pour the batter over the slightly cooled caramelized pear topping. Reposition them if they shift. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until the top looks golden and a wooden tester comes out clean the first time.

Cool the cake for 5 – 10 minutes. Loosen the cake with a thin knife around the edge of the skillet. Put a plate on the skillet and quickly invert it to tip the cake onto the plate. If necessary, reposition the pears.

Make Whiskey Whipped Cream:

Beat the cream with the sugar, infused whiskey and vanilla. Beat it until it forms soft peaks.

Serve the cake slightly warm or at room temperature with chilled whiskey whipped cream.

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