Rosemary and Pear Upside Down Cake For Mom and Dad

DSC03750My parents and aunt went to a fabulous brunch for my mom’s birthday in November.  I wasn’t there, sadly, but I did hear about all the great food they had, including a rosemary and pear tart.  Neither one of my parents have stopped talking about this tart since they went to brunch.  I was curious about the flavor combination myself, so this is my take on the pear and rosemary.  I decided to make a cake instead of a tart, mainly because I am lazy and didn’t feel like making tart dough and that I started making this at 8:30pm last night.  That’s past this granny’s time for baking.  Also, I’ve wanting to do another version of an upside down cake since we made the peach one this summer.

For the cake recipe, I used this one I found on the Bon Appetite website.  I modified it slightly:

  • I added the zest of half a lemon.
  • I did not separate the eggs and beat the egg whites, again because I’m lazy.  I used the creaming method with the sugar, butter and eggs.  The cake still turned out delightful.
  • I used cake flour instead of all purpose since I didn’t separate the eggs and wanted some lightness in the cake.

A note on the caramel.  I tried following the directions in the Bon Appetite recipe for the caramel and let it go a little too long.  I ended up with a hard pile of sugar with rosemary chunks in it.  Since it was getting late, I just melted some butter in the bottom of my cake pan, sprinkled 1/4 cup of brown sugar on top of that and then sprinkled 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary in.  Then continued I following the recipe directions, laying the pears out and pouring the batter on top of that.

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Here is the final recipe, with my modifications.

Rosemary and Pear Upside Down Cake

Cake:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of half a large lemon
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons cake flour
  • 3 tablespoons coarse yellow cornmeal or polenta
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, roughly chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and pour into bottom 9″ cake pan.  Sprinkle brown sugar and chopped rosemary over the bottom of the pan evenly and set aside.

3.  Cream butter and sugar together and beat until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Add eggs and beat until incorporated.  Add milk, vanilla and lemon zest and beat until combined.

4.  Combine the remaining dry ingredients, flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt in a separate bowl.  Add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture in three parts.

5.  Core and slices pears about 1/8″ thick.  Arrange, overlapping, in a circle on the bottom of the cake pan.  Pour batter over the top of pears.

6.  Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs attached to it, but mostly clean, 30-40 minutes.  Enjoy!

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