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Pear Upside-Down Spice Cake

I ripped this out of a magazine in 2006. It's been waiting quite some time to see the light of day. It was worth it. The cake is very flavorful. It was also quite simple to make.

Pear Upside-Down Spice Cake (Adapted from Cooking Light)

3 c pears sliced thin (Bosc, Bartlett, Anjou) 2-3 pears
cooking spray
2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t instant coffee granules
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
1/4 t allspice
1/2 t cinnamon
1 c sugar
5 T butter
1 egg
1t vanilla
3/4 c buttermilk

2T butter
1 1/2T lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
3/4 c brown sugar
1 1/2 T buttermilk

Spray 9" pan with cooking spray.  Arrange pear slices spoke-like in the bottom of the pan.  In a small bowl mix flour and all spices; set aside. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix well.  Add flour and buttermilk alternating - beginning and ending with flour. Spread over pears. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack. Run thin spatula around side to loosen. Turn out on platter.
To prepare glaze: Combine butter, lemon juice, and zest in a saucepan. Heat until butter melts. Add brown sugar and bring to boil. Remove from heat and add buttermilk. Let stand two minutes and pour over cake.

The glaze was delicious but very sticky. I would have preferred if it was a little thicker, but I must confess I added all the juice from the lemon (too lazy to store it). The pears I used were not the most flavorful to start with but did the job in the cake. I think because the rest of the cake is so flavorful. I needed only two pears - even with a few brown spots that I had to exclude. I would think that you might be able to do this cake with apples too. I think I would go heavier on the cinnamon if I were using apples.

I wasn't too sure what to do about the center - I just put a few slices in the center. Pre-glaze it looks a bit obvious. Post-glaze it looks good.


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