Saffron Scented Pear Upside Down Cake

There is something very comforting about an upside down cake. It’s old school baking, which I think is the best kind of baking. Think chocolate chip cookies and  bundt cakes.

I saw this recipe while flipping through the October 2006 issue of Martha Stewart Living. The picture made me want to eat it immediately. When I read the recipe it confirmed what my eyes already told me. The addition of saffron and ginger give the cake a modern twist, but the caramelized pears give it a classic upside down flavour.

Saffron Scented Pear Upside-Down Cake

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2  Pears, (6 to 7 ounces each), peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-inch square or round cake pan with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper, and set aside.
    2. In a food processor, pulse the saffron and 1/4 cup sugar. In a bowl beat the sugar mixture with the butter until light and fluffy. Spread the mixture in the pan.
    3. Place the pear slices over the butter in a decorative pattern.
    4. Whisk the dry ingredients together. In another bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry in a slow stream while stirring.  Spread the batter over the pears.
    5. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes then flip onto a serving platter and allow to cool completely.