Sticky Pear and Walnut Upside-Down Gingerbread

Judy in Her Natural Habitat: The Kitchen

From Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor

For the gooey bottom:

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and diced

⅓ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

For the batter:

1 cup, plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp nutmeg

pinch of cloves

1 large egg

¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

6 tbsp dark unsulphered molasses

½ cup buttermilk

4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8- inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar together and spread over the bottom and halfway up the sides of the prepared pan. Sprinkle the pears and walnuts over the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

To make the batter: sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices into a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, molasses, buttermilk, and melted butter. Gradually whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking only until combined. Carefully pour the batter over the nuts and pears in the pan.

Bake until the top of the cake is firm and shiny and the sides are pulling away slightly from the pan, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven, place a large serving plate over the top of the cake, and turn it out onto the plate. Remove the cake pan. If any nuts or pears are still stuck to the pan, carefully scrape them - and any of the remaining sweet, sticky sauce - onto the cake, smoothing it out with a knife. Let the cake cool slightly, then cut into wedges. Serve warm, dolloped with whipped cream or sweetened sour cream, if desired.