I found this cake in my Whole Foods iphone app and saved it for future use. That happened to be this past week when I found my self with a refrigerator bin full of pears-some from my mother-in-law’s pear tree and some my mother had sent to me. The original recipe called for walnuts, but I substituted pecans because that’s what I had on hand.
Unfortunately, Mr. G and I were expected more. It came out of the oven smelling and looking great, but after tasting it, I wished the pears would have had more flavor. Maybe some cinnamon or even cooking them in some brandy. I had too much batter so I filled a ramekin with the extra batter and had a mini cake. This is a recipe I would play around with some more.
Pear and Pecan Upside Down Cake
Adapted from Whole Foods
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. butter
2 pears, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 (17-oz) box yellow cake mix, plus the ingredients required to make the batter (I used Duncan Hines Classic Yellow)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan then use it to line the pan; set aside.
2. In a small bowl, stir together heavy cream and sugar until combined. Spread mixture evenly over bottom of pan; set aside
3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Arrange pears in skillet in a single layer and cook, flipping once, until edges are deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat and set pears aside to let cool slightly. Arrange pears in the bottom of the pan in a decorative pattern then sprinkle them with pecans.
4. In a medium bowl, prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour batter over pears and smooth with the back of a spoon. Bake for 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer pan to rack and let it cool. Then run a knife around the edge of the cake to release it from the pan. Invert the cake onto a plate or cake round, remove and discard parchment paper.