It’s finally December! Not only is it my favorite month with my favorite holiday, but it’s my favorite time of the year to bake since there are always so many fun recipes to try. I love gingerbread so this recipe has been on my “To Make” list for while and it finally seemed like the perfect time for it. I already have a gingerbread muffin recipe that I love, but this gingerbread cake turned out to be quite different and I love the twist of making it an upside-down cake, too.
The big difference from most gingerbread recipes I’ve made is that this recipe uses fresh ginger instead of ground. I was a little weary about this because I haven’t always been a huge fan of fresh ginger. It’s ok in small doses, but in a lot of recipes I find it really overpowering. Luckily, it turned out to be pretty great in this cake. My guess is that the molasses and all the other spices help to tone down the ginger just enough so it’s not overpowering. Despite that, you can clearly taste a difference between gingerbread made with ground ginger and gingerbread made with fresh ginger. It just tastes well…fresher. Every bite has this nice little zing to it that you don’t get with ground ginger. Plus, fresh ginger and pears complement each other especially nicely.
If you’ve never bought fresh ginger before, you should be able to find it in the produce section of your grocery store. It’s an ugly brown root (but a pretty yellow color when you peel it), so it’s usually around the onions, shallots or potatoes. Ginger can be kind of a pain to grate but I’ve found it’s easiest with a microplane grater or with one of these special ginger graters.
This cake has several other things going for it: it’s really simple to make and since the recipe is from Cooking Light it’s not horrible for you either. Some of these low-fat cakes can turn out dry, but this gingerbread cake has a light, airy texture and the pears on top keep it very moist. My only nitpick is that I found the gingerbread to be a bit thin, so next time I’ll try making it in a 8 inch pan instead of a 9 inch.
If you’re looking for a lighter, but still satisfying dessert to serve during the holidays, this cake is a great choice!
Pear Upside-Down Gingerbread Cake
Dessert | Yield: 8 or 9-inch cake (8 servings)
Prep time: 25 min | Cook time: 40 min | Total time: 1 hour 25 min
- 3 (about 1 pound) peeled small pears, cored and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 2 tbsp. grated peeled fresh ginger, divided
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 4 tbsp. (2 oz.) butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp. powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Coat a 8×2-inch or 9×2-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle with sugar.
Combine sliced pears, 1 tablespoon fresh ginger and lemon juice. Arrange pears in the bottom of pan in a circular pattern.
- Combine brown sugar and butter in a large mixer bowl. Mix at medium speed until well-blended.
- Beat in egg. Add buttermilk, molasses, and the remaining 1 tablespoon ginger and mix until blended.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, dry mustard, cloves and nutmeg. Stir the flour mixture into the batter until blended.
- Pour the mixture over pears. Bake for 40 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pan 20 minutes on a wire rack.
- Place a plate sprinkled with powdered sugar upside down on top of cake pan and invert cake onto plate.
Store in a covered container for up to 3 days.
Serving size: 1/8 of the cake