13 Oct

My birthday was on October 2nd, and in honor of the occasion, I’m dedicating this post to CAKE.

Gorgeous cake from Susie’s Cakes (susiecakes.com) gifted to me by my friend Bex.

To balance out all this talk of cake, you can visit my latest guest post up at Original Plumbing- “Tomato: Little Ball of Orange Joy.

For my birthday, I received a Kitchen Aid stand mixer from my family. This is like the ultimate kitchen appliance. It weight about 10,000 pounds (believe me, I had to haul it home on the bus), and will mix anything you put in it thoroughly and in about 2 seconds flat. It also has a bajillion attachments that can turn it into an ice cream maker, pasta maker, or grain mill. Yeah. It’s that cool. And of course I got it in pink.

Around this time of year, we start getting apples and pears in our CSA box. I’ve made the NY Times’ Upside Down Maple Pear Cake before, and wanted to make it again with my fancy new miracle machine. I tweaked the recipe a bit, though, when through happy experimentation I learned that a little bit of blackstrap molasses turns this cake into a dramatic looking (and tasting!) baked good.


11 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup maple syrup OR honey

1/4 cup blackstrap molasses (regular molasses will probably work, too. But I like how hardcore the blackstrap kind is).

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

3 pears (I used the Asian pears from my CSA box), cored and thinly sliced.

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk (soy or almond milk will work, too)


Turn on the oven to 350 degrees (if you’re like me and only bake when it’s 80+ degrees out, feel free to wait to turn the oven on until after you finish making the molasses/syrup concoction).

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a small pan over medium heat.  Add the maple syrup or honey, molasses and brown sugar and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for another 2 minutes. It’ll look like boiling tar and will be super creepy and you’ll feel like a witch. Just in time for Halloween! Remove from heat and set aside.

With your sexy new standing mixer (or with your own muscle if you have yet to acquire a 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.Add flour mixture to butter mixture in three batches, alternating with milk; do not overmix (OR YOU WILL SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES).

Pour the syrup mixture into a WELL GREASED 9 inch round pan. Arrange the pear slices in a pretty pattern ontop of the syrup. Carefully spread the cake batter over the 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.

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.


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