RECIPE: Pear Ginger Upside-Down Cake (Gluten-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free)

I originally made this cake in 2005 and have recently been craving it. Here is the adapted recipe for food intolerances. It’s going to be the showpiece for Sunday Night Dinner. I also added crystallized ginger to the batter for an extra bit o’ spiciness. HEAVEN.

3 tablespoon palm oil (coconut may be flavorful)
1/2 cup sucanat mixed with 1 tbsp. molasses
1 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
4 large Bosc Pears
4 ounces palm oil or grapeseed oil
4 ounce Applesauce
3/4 cup sucanat
2 tablespoon Ginger grated
3 Eggs (or Ener-G Egg Replacer as directed)
2/3 cups Molasses
3 cups gluten free baking mix
1 1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
1/3 cup crystallized ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rice milk
1 1/2 tablespoon Vinegar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil a 9-inch springform pan, and line the bottom with a 10-inch circle of parchment paper.

To make the topping, combine 3 Tbs palm oil, ½ cup sucanat, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Melt the oil over medium heat for about 1 minute; then pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan, completely coating the parchment paper. Place the quartered pears on top of the oil-sugar mixture, lining the pieces up tightly in a decorative circle so that none of the bottom shows through.

To make the batter, cut palm oil into 1-inch pieces, and put them in a large mixing bowl. Add ¾ cup sucanat, and cream the mixture on medium speed for 3-5 minutes, until it is smooth and a pale tan color. Add the grated ginger, and beat 1 minute more. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low speed and making sure that each egg is fully incorporated before adding another. When all the eggs have been added, slowly pour in the molasses and beat to fully mix. The mixture will look as though it is breaking or curdling, but don’t worry – it will come together when the dry ingredients are added.

In a separate medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to fully combine.

Alternately add small amounts of flour and rice milk to the batter, stirring and folding with a rubber spatula until the dry ingredients are just absorbed. Do not overmix the batter. Pour and scrape the batter into the pear-lined pan, smoothing the top with a rubber surface. The pan will be nearly full.

Carefully transfer the pan to the center rack of the oven, and bake for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the cake’s center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cover the pan with an upside-down serving plate; then carefully invert them together. Release the sides of the pan, and lift it away. Gently lift the pan’s base off the cake, and peel away the parchment paper. Allow the cake to cool for a half hour or so, and serve warm.

Yield: One big cake, likely serving 10-12 people

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