Pear and Cardamom CakeI love cardamom, and a couple of years ago my sister Cassie gave me a beautiful cookbook, The Cardamom Trail, by Chetna Makan.  Aside from having beautiful pictures and lots of great writing, the recipes are fantastic.  And tis weekend, I decided to try making the Pear and Cardamom Caramel Cake.

I’ve never done an upside-down cake before, and it’s even been a while since I made anything in a springform pan! I had to buy a new one to make this recipe, as I made my delicious cheesecake for a friends’ birthday about a year ago, and left the springform at their place. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I find that springform pans always leak, which I forgot on this recipe until I smelled the burning smell coming from the oven as the caramel dripped out.  So I recommend covering the bottom of the pan in tin foil, just in case.  

Pear and Cardamom Caramel CakeThe flavours of this cake are incredible – the almond-orange of the cake itself, with the caramel-cardamom-pear topping, are in such beautiful balance.  And then it just looks so beautiful – when I did the nerve-wracking flip onto the cooling rack, then gently pull away the bottom of the pan,I was so excited about the way it looked, and that I hadn’t wrecked it, that I did a happy dance around the kitchen.

Pear and Cardamom Caramel Cake

Ingredients

For the topping:

  • 50g butter
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 pears, peeled and halved

Pear and Cardamom Caramel CakeFor the cake

  • 150g powdered sugar
  • 200g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • finely grated zest of 2 oranges

Special Tools

  • 9″ springform pan
  • toothpicks
  • wire cooling rack (I also set parchment or waxed paper below the rack, as the topping may remain liquid after the cake is done baking)
  • tinfoil to cover the bottom of the springform pan (in case of leaks)

Pear and Cardamom Caramel CakeDirections

  1. Grate oranges for zest; set aside
  2. Peel pears (I used a potato peeler, but a sharp knife will also do the trick), cut in half along their length, remove core and stem.
  3. Lightly grease your springform pan with butter.
  4. In a saucepan, combine topping ingredients butter, brown sugar, and cardamom.  Cook on low heat until sugar is dissolved in butter and consistency is uniform.  Continue cooking for two minutes.
  5. Pour this sauce into the springform pan and spread evenly over the base.
  6. Place halved pears in the pan, cut sides facing down.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, combine all cake ingredients and stir to combine until mixture is light and creamy and no dry ingredients remain, at least two minutes.
  8. Pear and Cardamom Caramel CakeSpoon cake mixture over pears carefully, so as not to disturb the positioning of the pears.
  9. Preheat oven to 350F.
  10. Wrap the bottom of the springform pan in tinfoil; this helps to catch any leaks from the topping.
  11. Bake cake for 50 – 55 minutes on the middle rack in the oven, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  12. Leave in the pan to cool for 10 minutes, then carefully turn out on to a wire rack to cool.
  13. Eat hot or cold within about 4 days, but keep very well-sealed – it will get stale quickly if exposed to the air!

 

 

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