A lovely neighbor gifted me with a box of gorgeous pears, inspiring me to bake this cake and share some with her. The butter/sugar mixture that ends up on top becomes irresistibly caramelized, and the cranberries and fresh ginger add zing to what could otherwise be a dull cake. The hardest part of this recipe is just keeping the slippery peeled pears from launching themselves into space while you’re trying to slice them. The rest is a piece of cake. Literally.

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups plain unsweetened nondairy milk

1/3 cup neutral oil

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 to 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

3 tablespoons nondairy butter, such as Miyoko’s

¼ cup organic brown sugar

1 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoons ground ginger

¼ cup dried cranberries

2 to 3 pears, peeled, cored, and thickly sliced

1 ½ cups self-rising flour

½ cup almond flour

¼ cup organic white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl or a measuring cup, stir together the nondairy milk, oil, vinegar, and grated fresh ginger. Set aside.
  2. Spray a 9-inch cake pan or deep pie pan with nonstick spray. Set your oven for 350 degrees and melt the butter in the bottom of the pan in the oven.
  3. Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger in a small bowl and sprinkle it evenly over the melted butter. Then sprinkle in the cranberries.
  4. Arrange the pear slices in a single layer on top of the butter/sugar/spice mixture. You may not be able to fit all of them in.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the two types of flour, white sugar, and baking powder.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients (step 1) into the dry (step 5) and mix just until combined. Small lumps are okay. Don’t over-mix the batter or the cake will be tough.
  7. Pour/spread this batter evenly over the pears, being careful not to disturb their placement.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, until the top is lightly browned, the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  9. Invert a cake plate over the cake pan and flip over the cake/plate assembly. If a little of the butter/sugar mixture remains in the pan, scrape it out and spread it on top of the cake. You may add a few more dried cranberries on top to make it pretty.

Wendy Andresen lives in Camden with her husband, Ray; her Sheltie, Sunshine; and her bunny, Rustle. She welcomes responses to her column at wendyandrayzer@yahoo.com.