Upside-down Pear and Cranberry Cake

Once again, I’m back to baking one of my favorite cakes – an upside-down cake. This time I chose Bosc pears to be the star of the fruit layer, to which I also added brown sugar and five spice powder. The powder, which is an aromatic blend mix of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and Sichuan peppercorns, paired beautifully with the pears, and deepened the brownish color of the topping.
I also thought that a bit of acidity was needed to balance the sweetness of the cake, so I decided to add some fresh cranberries to it. However, I didn’t want the cranberries to sink to the bottom, so my solution was to add them to the batter a bit after the cake was in the oven. I’m glad to report the trick worked well, and the cranberries stayed on top. The cake turned out very aromatic and tasty. Try it and enjoy.

Notes:
* Five spice powder can be found in specially stores or online.
* If you prefer a sweeter cake, increase the amount of sugar in the batter up to 1½ cups.
* For more of my upside-down cakes recipes, click HERE.

Makes: 8-10
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:
For the fruit layer:
1/3 stick (40 grams) butter, soft
¼ cup brown sugar (see notes)
½ tsp five spice powder (see notes)
2 large Bosc pears, cored and sliced thick
For the batter:
2/3 stick (75 grams) soft butter
¾ cup sugar (see notes)
2 L eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp lemon zest
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
Dash salt
1/3 cup fresh cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Prepare a 10” (26cm) deep cake pan.
2. The fruit layer: Spread the butter in a thick layer over the bottom of the pan, and a light layer over the sides. Sprinkle the sugar and five spice powder on top, avoiding about ¼” (½ cm) from the sides (this will help in releasing the cake from the pan later on). Arrange the prepared pears on top and place in the fridge, until the batter is ready.

3. The batter: in a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and lemon zest and whisk again. Add the milk and whisk again (the mixture will first look separated, don’t be alarmed, it’s fine). Add the vanilla, flour, baking powder and salt and mix to a smooth batter. Pour the batter over the fruits, from the center out.

4. Bake for 5 minutes, scatter the cranberries on top, and continue baking for about 30 minutes, until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Let the cake stand for 1-2 minutes in the pan. Place a plate (the size of the pan or larger) on top of the pan. Using oven mitts (remember, the pan is still hot!) hold both plate and pan together, and turn the pan upside down over the plate. Place on a work surface and carefully remove the pan. Let the cake cool to room temperature before cutting.

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