Gluten Free: Pear, Caramel, and Cardamom Upside Down Cake

Pear, caramel and cardamom cake

Pear, Caramel and Cardamom Upside Down Cake

Pear, Caramel and Cardamom cake

It’s coming to the end of the pear season in England. I love pears but only when they are firm and crunchy. Looking over at the fruit bowl brimming with over ripening Conference pears I was trying to think of something simple to do with them. I found this recipe for a French Pear, Almond and Cardamom Cake┬áthat sounded delicious! I like the use of cardamom in desserts as it adds a nice background note to often very sweet South Asian and Middle Eastern desserts. I also like the use of almond flour in this recipe as I am trying to cut down on eating refined wheat flour but without cutting down on the amount of cake I can eat! ­čÖé

I have used a recipe for coconut caramel in a Coconut Caramel Slice recipe and have used this caramel recipe for several recipes since. The left overs from the last batch of caramel slices was in the freezer ready for another use so I decided to use it in this pear cake too.

I also found that the cake batter from the original recipe was not enough as I was using a round loose bottom cake tin rather than a small loaf pan so I have increased some of the ingredients to compensate. This is the recipe I’ve used:

Ingredients

  • 200g of ground almonds
  • 2 ripe pears
  • 100g of butter
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • about 10 pods of cardamom (ground)
  • 3 medium free range eggs

Instructions:

  • slice up pears and layer onto the bottom of cake tin
  • pour over the caramel sauce
  • cream butter and sugar, add ground cardamom and eggs then mix before adding ground almonds and mix well
  • pour cake batter on top of pears and caramel and spread evenly
  • Bake at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes
  • Allow to cool slightly in the tin then upturn onto a dish so it is the right way up
  • Serve with cream/ice cream/custard

I’m fairly happy with the results. The cake was very moist and rich and the individual flavours really held their own! I think next time I’ll put the pears on top of the caramel so they look more caramelised. The cardamom flavour was a lovely addition, if anything I would add more cardamom and reduce the sugar in the cake batter to compensate for the sweet caramel sauce! Yum!

Pear, Caramel and Cardamom cake

Pear, Caramel and Cardamom cake

When one recipe inspires another: Coconut Caramel Slice

Coconut Caramel Slice

Coconut and Salted Caramel Slice

 

Home baking has recently seen a revival. My friends, colleagues and family know all about my cake obsession, and I have held many an afternoon tea or baked an experimental cake to share in the office the next day. I had to stop when people complained that they were putting on weight from eating all my cakes! I bake less these days but still enjoy dabbling once in a while. ‘Afternoon tea’ is quintessentially British but now fashionable the world over. I recently had an ‘Asian Afternoon’ tea where finger sandwiches were replaced by a variety of sushi. A perfect example of Asian fusion cuisine!

An earlier experiment with┬ábanana gyoza resulted in having left over coconut caramel ┬áthat was a little sickly sweet so, I wanted to try it with a little sea salt to take the edge off the sweetness. A quick on-line search of ‘coconut caramel’ and the first recipe that came up was this one!┬áCoconut caramel slice. I’ve adapted this recipe slightly by using the coconut caramel (with a couple of pinches of sea salt flakes added) and adding a drizzle of dark chocolate on top to introduce a contrast in tastes. I’ve also increased the amount of dessicated coconut in the top layer to 200 grams and added another egg. I found that the amount in the recipe was not enough to fully cover the ‘cake’, and I also wanted to use up what was left of packet before I started on another baking adventure ‘just to use up left overs’!

Looking at the recipe, I realised it was very similar to a coconut macaroon recipe I used when baking a gluten free treat to take to a friend’s house as a treat.┬áThis Coconut Slice recipe is a very simple recipe, similar to an Almond Slice. Except the ground almond is swapped for dessicated coconut and raspberry jam in the place of caramel. I made Almond Slices a few months ago and they turned out amazingly well for my first attempt. I really like tray bakes. They are simple to make and these layered recipes are always very pretty, looking like you have put more effort in than you really have!

At work we regularly hold bake sales to raise money for the charity I work for. I usually make cupcakes which go down well but I steer clear of eating them as I find the buttercream far too sweet. I think these Coconut caramel and Almond slices will be on the menu for the next bake sale. This way I can enjoy a little treat in the afternoon too!

 

Coconut Caramel Slice

Coconut and Salted Caramel Slice