Individual Pear Upside-Down Cake
- 1/3 stick unsalted butter (plus additional butter to grease the ramekins)
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 3 medium-sized pears, ripe but firm (Bartletts work well)
- 1 teaspoon ginger juice extracted from fresh ground ginger root
- 1 egg
- 6 ounces vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Butter the bottom and sides of eight 6-ounce ramekins.
- Melt the 1/3 stick of butter in a saucepan over low heat, remove, then sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the melted butter. Stir to combine.
- Put a tablespoon of the sugar-butter mixture into each ramekin and pat down evenly.
- Peel the pears. Reserve one pear to use in the cake batter. Cut the other pears in half and core. Trim off the pear tops. Cut each pear half into four equal wedges and place two wedges into the bottom of each ramekin (the peeled outer sides should rest against the walls). Cube the pear tops and use them to fill in the holes in the centers.
- Finely grate half of the reserved pear. (The remaining half can be saved for another use.)
- Grate fresh ginger root and press to extract 1 teaspoon of juice (you'll need about 1-inch square of fresh peeled root).
- Whisk egg. Combine beaten egg with the ginger juice, grated pear and oil.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
- Fold the egg mixture into the dry ingredients to make a moist batter. Don't overwork.
- Place an equal amount of the batter on top of each pear-filled ramekin.
- Bake at 350º F until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted into the cake center comes out clean (about 35 to 40 minutes). Remove from the oven.
- Let the cakes cool for a few minutes. This will allow the caramelized sugar to thicken but not set. Using oven mitts, carefully turn over and unmold each cake onto a plate.
- Serve warm with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Cakes may be refrigerated in the mold for later enjoyment. Heat the ramekins for 30 seconds in a microwave before unmolding the cake.