Upside Down Pear Gingerbread Cake

Oh my goodness, is this a good cake.

I recommend you make this for's so pretty, was easy, and it flipped out of my cast iron skillet like nobody's business. Perfect landing.

I usually have trouble when I invert the upside down cake.....the fruit has to be redistributed quickly and put back into it's place, and also there is usually shrinkage.

Not this cake.

It's more of a spice cake with a beautiful buttery pear top.
I added walnuts to fill the holes.........

You will need a 10" well seasoned cast iron skillet for this one.

Upside Down Pear Gingerbread Cake (adapted from Gourmet Magazine 2002):

For the upside down part:

2 firm pears (preferably Bosc)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (I only had dark brown)
handful of chopped walnuts or pecans

For cake:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup molasses (preferably mild)
1 cup boiling water
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Peel the pears and cut or slice them into pieces however you like.

Melt 1/2 stick (4 tbsp) of butter in a 10" cast iron skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides. Reduce heat to low, then sprinkle brown sugar over bottom of skillet and cook, undisturbed, 2 minutes, this will be your topping.
Arrange pears decoratively over sugar/butter mixture and dot with nuts in the open spaces. Remove from the heat.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in a bowl.

Whisk together molasses and boiling water in a small bowl.

Beat together butter, brown sugar, and egg in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes, then alternately mix in flour mixture and molasses in 3 batches at low speed until smooth (you know I did this with my arms, not the mixer).

Pour batter over topping in skillet, spreading evenly and being careful not to disturb the pears, and bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.

Cool cake in skillet on a rack for 5 minutes only, otherwise it will stick.

Run a thin knife around edge of skillet, then invert a large plate with a lip over skillet and, using pot holders to hold skillet and plate tightly together, invert cake onto plate. Replace any pears that stick to skillet (none of my pears shifted).

Let completely cool before serving so the top sets.
Keep the cake cool in the fridge for a few days.

Loved it.