I love to bake, for me it's a stress reliever, believe it or not. To be honest I'm not one of those people who enjoy a complicated bake, I like to keep things as simple as possible. I've got a very large oven and I like to throw everything in to cook together.
I found this recipe and though it was ideal for me. So I'm sharing it with you all in the hope that you too can bake up a storm and impress your family.
For the Pear Skillet Cake
2 large & firm pears, cored & quartered
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar, plus 1 tbsp
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp brandy extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
For the Brandy Caramel Sauce
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp brandy extract
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Pear Skillet Cake:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350F. Grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet and set aside.
Finely chop one of the pears and thinly slice the others, set aside.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Wisk the mixture by hand to make sure the ingredients are well combined and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and 1/4 cup of brown sugar (reserving the extra tablespoon) on medium speed until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the egg, vanilla & brandy extracts and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture all at once, mixing until just blended. The batter will be very stiff.
Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the finely chopped pear and half the almonds, mixing just enough to combine. Dump the batter into your cast iron skillet and spread it into an even layer.
Arrange the peat slices on top of the batter and sprinkle with the remaining almonds and the remaining tablespoon of brown sugar.
Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the cake is golden in color and the center springs back lightly when touched, about 40 minutes. Do not over bake, because cast iron holds heat so well, your cake will continue to bake after it is taken out of the oven so it's better to remove it a little under done than to dry out your cake.
Serve warm or cool, with Brandy Caramel Sauce. Cake is best eaten the same day but can be stored by covering tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for 2-3 days.
For the Brandy Caramel Sauce :
While your cake is baking, make your sauce on the stove top. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium-low heat, sitting occasionally. Add the sugar and stir until melted and smooth. About 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the butter and extracts, again stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Serve alongside Pear Skillet Cake. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.