I know what your thinking, She burnt the cake. I thought I did too. I was overdoing the multi-tasking this morning and smelled the sugar burning from the third floor of my house. I ran downstairs and thought I totally screwed the cake up. I pulled it out of the oven annoyed at myself that I didn’t just make the cake when I had more time. I took a few photos for whatever reason. Made some whip cream that I also overwhipped. Again, answering e-mails from the third floor with the Kitchen Aid mixer on full blast in the kitchen. I know better but I was having one those, I just have to get it done moments.
I sampled a slice with my butter like whip cream and to my surprise it was delicious. Not burnt at all. How can a cake that looks burnt not be burnt you ask? Maybe the top is so dark because of the maple syrup grade and the dark brown sugar I used. Who cares anyway, it’s delicious. I should have layered the pears more but besides that it’s awesome. All my favorite flavors of fall: maple, brown sugar, vanilla, and pears.
Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman. Watch a how to video on the nytimes.com.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
11 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 to 4 pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a small pan over medium heat; add maple syrup and brown sugar and cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and cook for another 2 minutes; remove from heat and set aside. When mixture has cooled a bit, pour it into a 9-inch baking pan and arrange pear slices in an overlapping circle on top.
2. With a handheld or standing mixer, beat remaining 8 tablespoons butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, one egg at a time, continuing to mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in three batches, alternating with milk; do not overmix. Carefully spread batter over pears, using a spatula to make sure it is evenly distributed. Bake until top of cake is golden brown and edges begin to pull away from sides of pan, about 45 to 50 minutes; a toothpick inserted into center should come out clean. Let cake cool for 5 minutes.
4. Run a knife around edge of pan; put a plate on top of cake and carefully flip it so plate is on bottom and pan is on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.