When you invert the cake, the pear slices end up on top with no need for frosting. It does, however, scream for whipped cream or a topping of thick vanilla yogurt.
1–2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp honey, corn syrup or maple syrup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1–2 ripe but firm pears or tart apples, thinly sliced
a handful of fresh or frozen cranberries (optional)
1/4 cup canola oil or butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk or thin plain yogurt
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger, or 1 tsp powdered ginger
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
ADULT: Preheat oven to 350°F and spray an 8” or 9” round cake pan with nonstick spray.
CHILD: To make the topping, measure the butter, honey and brown sugar into the pan.
ADULT: Put the pan into the oven until the butter melts; take it out and stir the butter, honey and sugar together with a fork until it’s smooth.
CHILD: Arrange the pear slices in concentric circles in the bottom of the pan, on top of the sugar mixture, placing them tightly together in any design you like. (Fruit shrinks as it cooks, so you can even get away with overlapping them.) OPTIONAL: Tuck cranberries in empty spaces.
CHILD: Measure the oil and brown sugar into a medium bowl and beat it by hand or with an electric mixer until it’s well blended.
CHILD: Crack in the egg, then add the buttermilk, molasses and ginger and beat again until everything is well combined.
CHILD: Measure the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice and salt into a small bowl and stir it together.
CHILD: Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir by hand or on the lowest speed of an electric mixer just until the batter is combined.
CHILD: Pour the batter over the sliced pears, scraping the bowl and smoothing the top.
ADULT: Bake for 35–40 minutes, until the top is springy to the touch. Let stand for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a plate while it’s still warm. (If it cools too much it may stick to the pan; if this happens, warm it in the oven again before you try to invert it.) If any pear slices stick to the bottom of the pan, simply
peel them out and place them back on top of the cake.
Makes 1 cake; serves 8–10.