I had been disappointed that my self-imposed abstinence from all things cake meant that I couldn’t take part in one of my favourite monthly baking challenges, Alphabakes. I haven’t entered every month by any means, far from it, but I have done some of the tricky letters, such as Z and I. This was going to be the final letter, U, and I already had a recipe earmarked for it. An upside down cake.
Then we sold the house in record time and panic set in. So much packing to do, so little time! Baking would have to be put on the back burner for quite a while.
I was looking at some uneaten pears in the fruit bowl and the idea for a pear upside down cake came to me. I had also unearthed a jar of ginger preserve during my clearing out of a kitchen cupboard. Perfect for sandwiching the two cakes together!
I used the recipe I intended to use in the first place, which is on the Good Food website and you can see it here.
I simply swapped the peaches for sliced pears and added a little ginger.
The sponge was light and moist with just a hint of ginger, the pears beautifully caramelised and the ginger jam and cream set it off perfectly. I would definitely make it again.
The fact that it was so quick to make, makes me feel a lot less guilty about taking the time to make it when I should be packing or sorting yet another drawer or cupboard!
For the cake
200g softened butter, or spreadable butter
200g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp ground ginger
200g golden caster sugar
For the topping
3 ripe pears
75g light soft brown sugar
For the filling
2tblsp ginger preserve
125ml double cream
1tblsp icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160° fan / gas mk 4. Grease two 20cm sandwich tins, line the bases with baking paper and grease again.
Sift the flour, baking powder and ginger into a large bowl. Add all the other cake ingredients and whisk with an electric hand whisk (or use a food mixer) until fully combined and smooth.
Sprinkle the soft brown sugar evenly over the bottom of one of the tins.
Peel the pears, halve them, remove the cores (using a melon baller) and slice each half into three wedges. Arrange the pear slices on top of the brown sugar.
Divide the cake mixture evenly between the two tins, being careful not to disturb the pear slices and remembering that the tin with the fruit on the bottom will inevitably look fuller.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cakes are done. The one with the pears on the bottom will take about five minutes longer than the other.
Allow to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out carefully onto a wire rack.
Whisk the double cream with the icing sugar until spreadable. When the cakes are cold, spread the preserve on the bare cake half. (Warm it slightly in a small pan if necessary to make it runny enough to spread.)
Spread a thick layer of whipped cream on top, remembering to let the jam cool completely first. Put the fruited cake on top of that.
Cuts into 6-8 slices.