Pear & Pumpkin Upside Down Cake

We had a nice weekend at home finishing up some more painting of hallways and organizing a few key areas of the house.  It was rather gloomy and rainy all day Sunday – enough to warrant getting out the light down comforter and turning on the heat (low of course) for the night.  We will have some adapting to do this winter – it will be a far cry from balmy North Carolina winters.

We celebrated a milestone birthday with my mom on Sunday by going to dinner at Cosi Cucina.  They have a to-die-for butternut squash soup that I am going to be recreating on here very soon.  We all convened back at our house for this perfect autumnal cake – Pear & Pumpkin Upside Down Cake.

Greta was a huge help in the preparation of the cake.  Please note the flashlight that she shone on everything I was doing.

The upside down layer is created with with a simple caramelized sugar glaze and sliced pears.  These were pears from my parents’ trees, of course.

The cake itself is perfectly fall with pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice.  You can make your own pumpkin pie spice by combining allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  Read the note below on the proportions.

This cake only uses the egg whites – whipped into a stiff sugary concoction.  

Pumpkin puree just plain makes me happy.  If I was allowed to, I would use it in every recipe all day long.

The final batter is spread carefully on top of the pear layer and baked until perfection.  This cake creates a smaller cake with 10, single layer servings.  It is perfect for a small gathering.  If you wanted to double it, use a second pan!

Pumpkin & Pear Upside Down Cake – from Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book

1. In a small bowl combine: 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine, and 1 tablespoon water.  Pour into an ungreased 9×1-1/2 inch round baking pan.  Core, peel and slice 2 medium pears.  Arrange the pear slices in the pan.  Set pan aside.

2. In a small bowl combine: 1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, set aside.  In another mixing bowl beat 3 egg whites with electric mixer or mixing stand, on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl).  Gradually add 3/4 cup granulated sugar, beating until stiff peaks form (tips stand up straight).  Using low speed, blend in 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree, 1/3 cup cooking oil, 2 tablespoons water, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. 

3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick or knife is inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes.  Loosen from sides of pan; invert onto serving plate.  Serve warm.

*Note: 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice can be made by combining: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

10 servings.  Nutrition facts per serving:
250 cal., 10 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 6 mg chol., 120 mg sodium, 39 g carbo., 2 g fiber, 3 g pro.  Daily values: 42% vit. A, 3% vit. C, 5% calcium, 8% iron.

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