I think my new favorite item to make is the upside-down cake.
Granted, there aren't quite as many things that you can change up as in cheesecakes, but its potential for versatility is still pretty great. Plus, there's that small added bonus of being something I actually enjoy eating...
I just happened to have some pears on hand, thanks to a fantastic package from Hickory Farms (more on that in a moment), so I opted to use them as the bottom-cum-top of my cake. If you'll recall, I've also done a cranberry-walnut combination, one with bananas and rum, and I have an almond version coming up soon, so pretty much any fruit or nut you have on hand could probably work.
About that package: For more than 60 years, Hickory Farms gifts have been a classic holiday tradition that brings family and friends together. Hickory Farms is very proud to be a part of many nostalgic moments and continues to focus on and celebrate its long heritage of tradition and authentic holiday memories. They not only embrace passing down traditions through generations of families, but also creating new traditions and sharing them with loved ones.
The gift box I received (and the one the winner of this giveaway will get) contained beef summer sausage, creamy cheddar cheeses, extra-large Crown Comice® and Red D'Anjou pears, bright Fuji apples, crunchy pistachios and mixed nuts, and delectable chocolate-covered cashews, and a bottle of La Crema Chardonnay. While I gave the sausage and chardonnay to loved ones to sample and have big plans for that cheese, I personally enjoyed all the nuts and obviously put the fruit to good use. As an extra perk, the crate in which the items were delivered is sturdy and will undoubtedly be reused again and again.
You can find delicious Hickory Farms products on their website or in their 700+ Holiday Market stores and kiosks across North America, as well as in select retailers.
If you'd like a chance to win a gift box like the one I've discussed here (a $99.99 value), today's your lucky day. Just leave a comment below telling me one of your family's traditions. You can also like A Southern Grace on Facebook, follow A Southern Grace on Twitter, follow A Southern Grace on Pinterest, and/or tweet about the giveaway. Let me know about each action in a different comment, and be sure to leave an email address if necessary. I'll close the comments in two weeks, on December(!) 1st, and randomly pick the winner, who'll be contacted immediately. Good luck, and happy holidays!
Gifted Pear Upside Down Cake
Based on a Martha recipe
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2-3 ripe pears, such as Bartlett or Anjou, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly (as thin as possible, really--you don't want 'em crunchy)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
To make the topping, melt butter in the bottom of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or cake pan over low heat. Add brown sugar, stirring until dissolved. Swirl to coat the bottom; remove from heat and let cool. Cut pears into 1/4-inch-thick wedges, and arrange them in a circular pattern over the brown-sugar mixture to cover completely; set aside.
To make the batter, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract; beat to combine. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating to combine. Alternating with the milk, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and mix, on low speed, just until the flour is incorporated. In a large bowl, beat reserved egg whites and the cream of tartar with a hand mixer until stiff but not dry. Using a rubber spatula, fold egg whites into the batter. Transfer to skillet. Using an offset spatula, spread the batter evenly, being careful not to disturb the pears.
Bake until well browned on top and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Run a knife around inside of pan, and immediately invert the cake onto a serving dish. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Disclaimer: Compensation and products for review were provided by Hickory Farms via MomTrends. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review and to facilitate a giveaway. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hickory Farms.