Caramelized Upside-Down Pear Cake

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I read a really long article the other day about how some modern day feminists are starting to trickle back into more traditional gender roles; men at work, women at home. I don’t agree with everything she wrote, but I thought it was an interesting read.

As most of you know (or can probably figure out), I have a pretty traditional view of how I want my home to function between my husband and I, mostly because we both simply love it. And I have to admit that I chuckled at the following quote because it seemed like many women are “just now” discovering this wonderful thing called being a “stay-at-home” wife and mom…

Kelly loved her old profession and does not want to be painted as betraying the goals of feminism. She prefers to see herself as reaching beyond conventional ideas about what women should do. “I feel like we are evolving into something that is not defined by those who came before us,” she says.

I also know this is just *slightly* confrontational topic (who am I kidding, it’s huge), and I personally know women on all sides of the issue and have great respect for them. My purpose in posting this is simply to point out that the modern perception of those who decide and even want to stay at home is shifting away from disdain and mockery and towards more of a mutual respect, and I’m pretty excited about that.

What are your thoughts/experiences with this whole issue? It seems like there are some pretty passionate views on both sides, and I’m interested to hear what you have to say.

Meanwhile, let’s bake!20130321-095410.jpg

This recipe has been modified a bit, but was largely based off David Lebovitz‘s recipe. You can use pretty much whichever kind of fruit you want (peaches, pears, apples, berries), and I used Red Anjou Pears since they are still in season here in VA. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the slices to keep them from growing brown, and to add a little tartness.

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I absolutely LOVE baking in my cast iron pan. It’s kinda funny… this was the first Christmas gift my husband (then, boyfriend) gave me. Some would think it chauvinistic I guess, but I was soooo excited about my new Lodge pan to even go there!

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Bubbling sugar. ‘Nuff said.

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Awesome baking clutter.

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(When you add the last portion of flour, use a spatula by hand and don’t over-mix)

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Laying out the pear slices on top of the melted (still warm but not scorching) caramel.

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Tada!

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Smother with batter…

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Bake till the yummy caramelized edges pull away from the pan.

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Let it cool for about 20 minutes, then flip out onto a plate (or cutting board, if you don’t have a plate big enough…). It should still be a bit warm.

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All that caramelized goodness on the edges… mmmmmm!

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Cut and serve! I had the great idea to serve it with homemade Creme Fraiche…. but there is a story behind that that will have to be for another time….

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Cast-Iron Upside Down Pear Cake
(Side note: I reduced the sugar of the main recipe, and it came out perfect for my taste. If you typically like things sweeter, you can change the amount of both portions of sugar to 3/4 C.)

Fruit layer:
3 Tbls butter
2/3 C. packed brown sugar
3-4 large Red Anjou pears, cored and sliced
Lemon juice (to keep pears from browning)

Batter:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 C. sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 C. flour
2 tsp baking power
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C. + 2 Tbls whole milk

1. Melt 3 Tbls butter in a 12-inch cast iron pan. Add brown sugar and stir over medium/high heat until sugar is bubbly and melted. Remove from heat and let sit until mostly cool. Preheat oven to 350*.

2. Meanwhile, mix the dry batter ingredients in a small bowl. In a larger mixing bowl, beat together 1 stick of butter and 2/3 C. white sugar. (Now, the pan should be cool enough. Arrange fruit in the pan, on top of the melted sugar caramel then set aside again).

3. Beat in vanilla to butter mixture, then add eggs, one at a time until smooth.

4. Stir in half of the flour mixture, then add milk. Then, add the second half of the flour mixture, but stir by hand with a spatula and do not overmix.

5. Pour and spread over pears, and bake for 35-45 minutes, until it pulls away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick comes out clean.

Best served warm, but can easily be reheated. Vanilla ice cream or whipping whole cream would be a splendid addition as well.

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5 responses to “Caramelized Upside-Down Pear Cake

  1. I know that I have had reservations at times about even sharing the fact that I am a stay-at-home mother because I often feel as though people look at me as though I am just being lazy, like, why aren’t you helping to support the family (financially speaking) or going out and “fulfilling your dreams”. My self-centered dreams can wait in my opinion. It doesn’t mean that I don’t indulge in the things I enjoy (like knitting, sewing, cooking) or that I wouldn’t love to some day actually have my own pottery studio, it just means that right now our priority is raising up our children to be responsible, loving and (hopefully) God-fearing adults. One thing that I just abhor about our society these days is the unwillingness of people to put their family, their children, above money and above career ambitions. I understand that it takes money to live, but we are often so obsessed with living materially beyond what is needed that working to support that lifestyle becomes more important than living to support those you love and who love you. Thankfully, the Lord is making me more comfortable in my role as time goes on and I am surrounded by multitudes of godly, wonderful women who are also at-home moms through whom I find continual encouragement. I truly do hope that, more and more, women will come to know the joy (most days ;-} ) that is being an at-home mom! So, that’s what i have to say, hope it made sense!

    On a separate note, noticed a kitchen-aid mixer in one of the pics. I’m in the process of trying to buy a stand mixer and finding on pretty much every brand that people either love it or hate it–just wondering if I could get your opinion of the machine you have–particularly when it comes to heavy batters/bread dough–and also make/model…if you would be so kind! xoxo Gillian

    • Thanks for sharing! I totally agree. My husband often comments on how women are pressured to “live their dreams” in a career, but it is forgotten that even for most men, they sacrifice as well and are not all doing EXACTLY what they dream to do. Many of them simply work hard at a whatever job pays well enough, since they are doing whatever they need to do to support and make their family a priority. I think it should be the same with women.

      I love my kitchen-aid! I was so blessed to receive the bigger, 6-quart Kitchen-Aid stand mixer for my wedding and the bigger engine is great with kneading bread dough and such. It’s harder to do smaller quantities of things, just because the bowl is bigger, but I haven’t run into that problem too often. It’s obviously a bit more expensive than the normal tilt-back ones, but my mother-in-law just kept an eye out for sales and found one for more than 50% off at Macys. Hope that helps!

  2. Helloo 🙂
    Wow this looks good– I’m no expert at baking, but maybe I’ll experiment on my family bwahahaha. Do you think it would be feasible to make this without an electric mixer?
    Thanks!

    • Yes I think so! You would just want to make sure the butter was very soft (maybe let it sit out overnight) and then use a wooden spoon to whip it together with the sugar. May take a little more elbow grease but I think you could make it work!

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