Gingerbread Skillet Cake

November 23, 2009 at 3:11 pm | Posted in Dessert | 5 Comments
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When my friend and blogging mentor (hi Gretchen!) posted her Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread cake, I knew I had to try it in my cast iron skillet.

The cake baked beautifully, the pears were perfectly caramelized, and the gingerbread had the perfect amount of spice…food blogging 101…always trust a food blogger and your cast iron skillet.

The family will love this wonderful fall dessert!

Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread Cake

from Gourmet Feb 2002 via Epicurious

Yield: Makes 6-8 servings

For topping

  • 2 1/2 firm pears (preferably Bosc)
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

For cake

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup molasses (preferably mild)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Special equipment: a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet or a 12-inch deep nonstick skillet (handle wrapped with a double layer of foil if not ovenproof)


Make topping:

Peel and core pears and cut each into 8 wedges.Melt butter in skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides. Reduce heat to low, then sprinkle brown sugar over bottom of skillet and cook, undisturbed, 3 minutes (not all sugar will be melted). Arrange pears decoratively over sugar and cook, undisturbed, 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Make cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together molasses and boiling water in a small bowl. Beat together butter, brown sugar, and egg in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes, then alternately mix in flour mixture and molasses in 3 batches at low speed until smooth.

Pour batter over topping in skillet, spreading evenly and being careful not to disturb pears, and bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.

Cool cake in skillet on a rack 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of skillet, then invert a large plate with a lip over skillet and, using pot holders to hold skillet and plate tightly together, invert cake onto plate. Replace any pears that stick to skillet. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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  1. Yum! I’m going to have to get a skillet at the flea market next weekend. It will be a race to see which one of us can spy a 12″ one first!

  2. Blogging Mentor?!? Hahaha! Lovely cake! Did you enjoy the taste?

  3. Gretchen- Cake was very good day one. Add freshly whipped cream and it’s awesome! Day two, a bit dry. Should have wrapped tightly or shared with the neighbors.

  4. Oh, yummy…this looks fantastic! Hope you are doing well!!

  5. yet another fantastic application for the glorious cast-iron skillet! stellar cake, karen. 🙂

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