Vanilla and brown sugar baked pears top this recipe for pear upside down cake. The bottom-turned-top boasts a soft, gluten-free almond cake with a light texture just firm enough to stand up to the caramelized pears.
The sun shines warmer this week, evidenced by puddles that have replaced layers of ice pack and the softening snow. Each afternoon the kids stomp through the door, their coats draped over their arms, cheeks flushed and their nostrils flaring in the brisk air. Smiles adorn their faces as pink skin soaks up vitamin D during their post-school traipsing.
Our neighbors have opened their garage door, pulling lawn chairs onto the slick black driveway and observing the slow melt as we head into spring. The children celebrate in boots and snow pants and t-shirts, climbing the mounds of snow that line the driveway before sliding down on wet bottoms again and again. Impromptu dinners eaten surrounded by mounds of snow in the fresh air are held in celebration.
I recently purchased a few pears for a client project I am working on, and once the food had been staged and shot, two brown-skinned Boscs remained on the counter. After slicing into one, dipping it gently in lemon juice, and packing it away in a lunch box, there was a lone pear that remained, stolid.
There it sat until yesterday, when it became the focal point for a cake. The sun shining outside, a cake still warm from the oven greeted my coat-shirking bunch. When the door swung open they were hit with the redolence of baking pears and light almond cake coming together in the oven. Browning sugars had caramelized to a high gloss over the baked fruit, and soon there were takers flooding the kitchen, the promise of cake hanging in their nose.
This Thursday is a get-together worth getting out for. James Beard nominated Michelle Gayer of Salty Tart in partnership with Share Our Strength and their Minneapolis chef chair James Beard winner Tim McVee of La Belle Vie are hosting another Minneapolis Cakewalk event. Each dollar of ticket sales will go towards ending childhood hunger in America. Share Our Strength is dedicated to helping the 17 million children that struggle with food insecurity through initiatives like the Cooking Matters program and No Kid Hungry, which educates families about nutrition, cooking, and including healthy food on a budget.
You can still grab a ticket to join us this Thursday, March 13th at 8p in Minneapolis. Aria at The Jeune Lune is hosting, and there will be drinks, dancing, and plenty of cake for everyone. When the weather is warming, there is little else to do but celebrate and eat cake that benefits others. Perhaps I’ll see you there?
Behind the Scenes:
- This cake finished baking minutes after the kids ran through the door. As I pulled it out, flipped it onto the plate, and then set up a space to photograph it, I was bumped and badgered by one small soul in particular. He informed me of his thoughts on the whole process by explaining, “I don’t like pictures of cake. Cake is for eating, not for pictures.”
- After consuming her piece, a small girl in raspberry-colored pants let me know what she thought of my cake attempts, “It’s kind of like pie because you get all the warm fruit and the cake, too. Much better than frosted cake.”
- And finally, as I was cleaning up the dishes and hiding away a piece for their father I heard, “Why did you only make one?”