Today was a sad day for most in Minnesota. This is probably why I was in such a mood to bake today. After taunting us with a couple weeks of amazing weather, the snow is back. If you don’t know anything about Minnesota weather, it can change like a flip of a dime. Even throughout the same day you may experience polar opposites of climate. I guess I’ll have to put my capri’s back in the drawer for awhile in hopes that this melts quickly and we get back to spring.
Anyway I cheated with this post. Technically I didn’t really make a specific pin from pinterest. I mixed a couple to try and use up what we had in the pantry. As the end of school draws near, Christian and I have to start thinking about using up the stuff we have so that we don’t end up taking a lot of food home with us. That being said I knew that I had a can of pears to use and a lot of all purpose flour. This morning I went searching for a pear cake. I figured that would be a good way to try and use some of the flour and use the can of pears, (which said best by march 1st, oh well I don’t really believe that cans really expire… especially that quickly.) Although after spending some time looking through, I couldn’t find a recipe that I had all the ingredients to or was what I was looking for. I did however draw inspiration from some of the posts I saw, Cinnamon Pear Cake, hmmm…. I really liked the idea of the cinnamon but it didn’t really use up that much flour… Browned Butter Upside Down Cake, upside down, now that’s an idea…. but this particular recipe looked like it was gonna use up waaayyy to many dishes and too time consuming for me. But those two recipes were the main inspiration behind the Spiced Pear Upside Down cake.
I’ve never baked a cake from scratch before. Growing up my mom would make cakes to sell to people, but we always used boxes to make them. So today was really an adventure. I found this easy spiced cake recipe that I had most of the ingredients for on hand:
But I did make quite a few adjustments to it… Since this one is harder to follow all of the changes I made to it I’m going to write out all of the ingredients I used for it:
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks butter (softened)
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- about 1 cup pear juice from can
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- butter to rub on the pan
I didn’t make the icing because I thought that the pear would have the added sweetness and that if I used both the icing and the pear it would just be way too sweet.
So why did I make so many changes to the recipe? For a couple of reasons. I didn’t have any cloves, allspice or ginger, so I just added one extra teaspoon of nutmeg and cinnamon so that the amount of spices in the cake would be the same, even though the different flavor profiles would be missing. If I had had these spices on hand I would’ve definitely left the recipe the same in that respect. As I was making this recipe it turned out that I only had one cup of brown sugar so I just added an extra half cup of granulated sugar so that the recipe would not loose sweetness just because I ran out. Like the spices, if I would’ve had more on hand I would definitely have kept the recipe the same. Now the eggs. I intentionally only used 2 eggs rather than the 4 the recipe asked for. I understand that eggs are definitely one of the cheapest proteins around, however that doesn’t mean that I want to throw a little under half a dozen into a cake. I’d rather save the eggs to use for different things throughout the week. Plus I also wanted to add in some pear juice into the cake without ruining the consistency of it. I thought that by adding pear juice it would help incorporate the pear flavor throughout the cake rather than just when taking a bite of the pear itself. I just added the pear juice at the same time I was adding the eggs into the sugar/butter mixture.
I only have so much equipment here with me at school, meaning the only thing I had to cook this in was a pie pan (it’s the only pan i could bring that would fit in the pizza ovens. I buttered the pan and arranged my pears along the bottom. I started to pour in my batter but I had too much of it! I didn’t know what to do with the last of it. I didn’t want to waste it but I wasn’t going to majorly overfill my pie pan either. Instantly a thought popped into my head. Have you ever heard of a mug cake
They have been becoming really popular so I thought, “What the heck? It’s worth a try, right?” and threw the leftovers into a mug, popped it in the microwave for 2mins 30secs to try it out. It was great! It was super tasty! The only thing I would’ve changed to it is for it to have a bit of pear chunks in it. It was just not quite sweet enough. It was gobbled up really quickly while we waited the 45 minutes for the cake to cook.
So on the about me page it tells about how we have to use a pizza oven whenever we want to bake things. It really sucks but at the same time it’s probably a good thing we don’t have an actual oven to share with the building…. Especially with how people leave the kitchen looking… I could only imagine that if we had an oven it would be disgusting and the fire alarm in our building would be going off a lot more often because people had forgotten about their items. Enough of the rant though. My point is that the pizza ovens only have two settings. High, and low. Therefore there’s really no way to know exactly what temperature your cooking your food at. We have an idea that high is somewhere in the 400’s and low is somewhere in the 300’s. We put it on low to start out for 30 minutes. but that’s when we started having problems. I think because the pizza oven is so small compared to a normal sized oven that the top of the cake cooked a lot faster than it would’ve in a normal oven. Therefore the top of the cake was cooked before the middle was anywhere near done. I tried leaving the tray open just a little bit so that the temperature in the oven would go down and cook the inside but that only worked to some degree. We ended up having to pull it out after about 35 minutes because we didn’t want the top to burn any more than it already had and the middle seemed mostly done. I brought it back to my room and flipped it out onto a towel. Now that I think about it a plate would’ve probably worked better, but I forgot about that at the time. The cake cracked and underneath the middle pear was still uncooked.
So what I ended up doing was just cutting the middle out. The sides were still good, everything else was cooked. It was just that darn middle that decided to be difficult. If I had left it in for just a couple more minutes it probably would’ve been fine, however the top would’ve been beyond repair then.
So if I were to do it all over again, what would I change? I would’ve scrapped the idea of making it an upside down cake. It sounded like a good idea in theory but I think that it would’ve been better had I chopped up the pears into chunks and mixed it through the cake mix. I think that would’ve given it a nice sweetness throughout rather than just on the top. I would make it in an actual oven. I don’t think I’m going to try and make a cake again in these ovens. Though they are fine at cooking most things, this was just a bad experience. Since the pan was too small for the cake, the cake rose up and almost got so high that it touched the top of the opening as we slid it out.
To help you picture this, here is a picture of not the same (ours doesn’t have a little dial like that) but a similar looking pizza oven:
Now you see what we’re working with!
So overall the cake was a good idea in theory but in practice it would have to be perfected. I guess that’s what I get for trying to make stuff up as I go along.
What would you change?
Thank you for Reading!