I’ve heard it said that the sense of smell is the earliest and strongest to develop in humans. I remember once at a restaurant there was a special on oysters that came from the town where I grew up. I splurged and ordered them just for fun. When they arrived and the fresh, salty smell wafted up to me, tears came to my eyes along with so many wonderful memories of my childhood there on the water.
I think it’s the same for many of us at Christmas. There are certain scents that transport you directly into this season of celebration and joy. Take ginger for instance! I love baking days here at the Community — as you cross the common, in addition to the beautiful lights and wreaths and garland, the smells drifting from the kitchen put smiles on everyone’s faces. It actually seems like another way to spread the good news: Christmas is coming! Jesus is on his way, and we’re getting ready — with Ginger Cake!
Upside Down Pear Ginger Cake
- Start with your ingredients at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9" springform pan or a cake pan that's at least 2½ inches deep.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar; mix well and pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Tilt the pan a little from side to side to help the mixture spread all the way to the edge.
- Arrange the sliced pears side-by-side over this brown sugar mixture, making sure that they cover the entire bottom of the pan. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well with a whisk until airy and fully combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer equipped with the paddle attachment, beat the the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs and beat again until pale and airy.
- Incorporate the apple sauce and molasses, mix until well combined, and then add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just incorporated, no more.
- Pour over the pears and spread all the way to the edge.
- Place a piece of aluminium foil under or around your pan to catch any eventual leakage and bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes or until it's cool enough to be handled safely then flip it onto a rimmed cake plate.
- Serve warm, garnished with vanilla ice cream, chopped nuts and a drizzle of honey or caramel sauce, if desired.
It’s a cool crisp October day. The kind of day that is perfect for a piping-hot cup of afternoon tea and a nice warm freshly baked piece of tea bread or coffee cake. Not just any kind of coffee cake. No, this is a day for my favorite spicy nutmeg cake.
What makes this cake so special to me? Well, to begin with, I love nutmeg and this is a nutmeg lover’s cake. The other thing is that while many coffee cakes have crumb toppings this cake has its “crumbs” on the bottom! Surprising but so delicious. Moist on the inside, crisp and crunchy on the bottom and nutty and golden on the top.
If you love nutmeg, you will love this cake. If you are not a nutmeg lover, you just may become one after trying it!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a 9-inch cake pan.
- Blend together brown sugar, flour and butter to make a crumb mixture.
- Spread half the mixture in the pan.
- Stir nutmeg, sour cream, baking soda and egg into the remaining crumb mixture.
- Pour batter over the crumbs in the pan.
- Sprinkle with nuts.
- Bake for 35 minutes.