Pumpkin Upside-Down Cake With Caramelized Pears

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If you know anything about Portland, you know it has killer cuisine from all walks of life. From food trucks to brick-and-mortar joints (also known as restaurants), this city is crazy about cuisine. Award-winning food writer and recipe developer Danielle Centoni has a new book of recipes from Stumptown that will rejuvenate your culinary repertoire and inspire you to book a flight ASAP. This pumpkin upside-down cake will turn your world inside-out. 

In pastry chef Jackie Sappington's hands, the classic caramel-soaked cake gets an autumnal makeover. Pears stand in for the usual pineapple, and the tender cake is blended with rum raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin puree.

Reprinted with permission from Portland Cooks

Pumpkin Upside-Down Cake With Caramelized Pears
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Rejuvenate your culinary repertoire and inspire you to book a Portland flight ASAP. This pumpkin upside-down cake will turn your world inside-out.
Prep Time
Cook Time
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 Bosc pears
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  1. :::topping:::
  2. Set a 9-inch metal cake pan over medium-low heat. Add the butter and brown sugar and heat, stirring, until melted and combined. Remove from heat and arrange the pears in concentric circles. Lightly grease the sides of the pan with butter.
  3. :::cake:::
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, combine the raisins and rum and set aside.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  6. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low, add half the dry ingredients, the pumpkin puree, and then the remaining dry ingredients. Add the raisin and rum mixture.
  7. Spread the batter evenly over the pears, making sure they are all covered. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cake to rest for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a serving platter or large plate over the cake and flip the pan over. Tap the pan to release the fruit, then gently lift the pan off the cake. (If any fruit remains stuck to the pan, just remove it and place it on top of the cake.)
  9. :::cream:::
  10. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or by hand, whisk the cream, sugar, and vanilla extract or paste until soft peaks form.
  11. Cut cake into slices and serve with vanilla whipped cream.
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