Pear-Cardamom Upside-Down Cake {Vegan}

The upside-down cake is an entire genre. The basic idea is, you make a caramel and pour it onto the bottom of your pan, then top that caramel with fruit. Pour a cake batter over the whole works, bake, and when the cake comes out, you flip it upside-down. It’s built-in cake and topping all in one go!

You don’t see them as much these days, but they were really popular a few years back when housewives were making everything out of convenience. You’d get a can of pineapple, and a boxed Betty Crocker cake mix, and go to town.

Pear Cardamom Upside Down Cake

There’s a kind of nostalgia to this cake, and one that I have weirdly been craving lately.

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Mine, of course, does not come from cans or boxes, and of course it’s vegan. I feel like the upside-down cake suffers from being thought of as old-fashioned and unsophisticated. So I thought I’d try to make it with some more sophisticated flavours, including pear, cardamom, and orange, all of which make wonderful friends together on the palate. And on the plate.

Vegan Pear Cardamom Upside Down Cake

Pear-Cardamom Upside-Down Cake {Vegan}

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegan butter
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 pears
  • 2 tsp cardamom, divided
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup aquafaba
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 1 tsp orange liqueur

Method

  1. In a small saucepan, melt the vegan butter together with the brown sugar and 1 tsp cardamom until they are incorporated together.
  2. Grease a 7″ pan (this recipe is often traditionally made in a cast-iron pan, you could use that instead. Just skip melting the butter & sugar together and do it all in the cast iron fry pan), and pour the melted butter/sugar mixture down into the bottom of it.
  3. Peel the pears, core them, and cut into thin slices. Arrange the pears in a layer over top of the caramel.
  4. Now make the cake. Start by zesting the orange. Set the zest aside to use later. Add the orange juice to the non dairy milk. You should have between 1-2 tbsp of orange juice. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, mix together the vegetable oil, aquafaba, sugar, vanilla, orange blossom water and orange liquor. Beat will with a hand mixer, or if you have a stand mixer, beat well with the paddle attachment on medium high for 3 minutes.
  6. Add the milk mixture to the wet ingredients and beat to incorporate.
  7. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, orange zest, and remaining 1 tsp of cardamom. With your mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet in batches.
  8. Once everything is smooth and incorporated, pour the cake batter over the caramel and pears in the cake pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes, until a skewer poked into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool on the counter for about 15 minutes before attempting to flip and de-pan. Run a knife around the edges of the cake pan to loosen the cake, then place a plate over the bottom of the cake pan, and carefully flip it upside down. I actually used a springform pan for mine, which was pretty successful.

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