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Pear and Cardamom Caramel Upside-Down Cake

This pear and cardamom caramel upside-down cake is a gorgeous dessert, from Great British Bake-Off’s Chetna Makan, that combines a tender and moist orange-almond sponge cake with a sweet caramel and pear topping. It’s easy to make but looks absolutely stunning.

Pear Cardamom Caramel Upside Down Cake.

Adapted from Chetna Makan | The Cardamom Trail | Mitchell Beazley, 2021

Home baking is not very popular in India and, as with most Indian kitchens, ours didn’t have a built-in oven. Most home cooking is done on the hob, and in restaurants, the oven of choice is the tandoor. My first memories of baking are of Mum using our very basic tabletop oven (which she still uses) to make birthday cakes for my two sisters and me. As I grew older, I would bake cakes myself for friends and my many cousins—we had a large extended family and there was always plenty of great food at family gatherings, celebrations and festivals.

We regularly visited local bakeries for treats such as cream rolls, pineapple cake, rum balls, doughnuts, and pattice (savory puff pastry snacks)—just thinking of these transports me home. Whenever I return to India, I make a point of visiting the old bakeries to relive those wonderful moments from my childhood. The shops still make the same bakes, even after all these years.—Chetna Makan

Pear and Cardamom Caramel Upside-Down Cake FAQs

What are the best pears to use in this pear cake?

In a cake like this, the shape of the fruit is visible in the finished product so you’ll want to use a pear that is firm enough to stay, well…pear-shaped. Bosc pears are the top choice in this recipe but Concorde and Anjou (French butter pears) will also work quite well.

What’s the best way to freeze this cake?

The cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days. If you want to freeze your leftovers, wrap tightly and freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter, then unwrap. Wrapping and freezing does mean that you might lose a little of that caramel topping though, so be aware before you do it.

I don’t have self-rising flour. What can I use instead?

For this recipe, we’ve already done the math for you. Simply combine 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Make sure to mix together thoroughly and use as directed.

Pear and Cardamom Caramel Upside-Down Cake

A pear and cardamom caramel upside-down cake on a carved wooden plate, on a green wooden table.

I love the flavor balance in this cake: tangy pears, floral cardamom, rich caramel, and, underneath, a moist sponge of orange and almonds. Do try it—your friends and family will think it a triumph.

Chetna Makan

Prep 30 mins

Cook 1 hr

Total 1 hr 30 mins

Dessert

Indian

12 servings

361 kcal

No ratings yet

For the cardamom caramel

For the upside-down cake

Make the cardamom caramel

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, gently warm the butter, sugar, and ground cardamom until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted, about 3 minutes. Cook for 2 minutes more, stirring often.

  • Pour this sauce carefully into the prepared pan and spread it evenly over the base. Place the halved pears on top of the sauce with the cut sides facing down.

    Depending on the shape and size of your pears, you may not be able to fit all the pear halves into the pan. Enjoy the leftovers as a snack.

Make the upside-down cake

Serving: 1servingCalories: 361kcal (18%)Carbohydrates: 40g (13%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 21g (32%)Saturated Fat: 12g (75%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 108mg (36%)Sodium: 30mg (1%)Potassium: 158mg (5%)Fiber: 3g (13%)Sugar: 27g (30%)Vitamin A: 648IU (13%)Vitamin C: 4mg (5%)Calcium: 54mg (5%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Originally published November 14, 2021

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