Welp. It’s been two years. Two years of writing this little blog and taking copious amounts of photos of my food…and rambling on and on about my newest food obsession to a bunch of strangers (and friends! and family!) on the internets. Yesterday was technically my blogaversary, but…well…Monday happened. Better late than never!
Is it a good or bad thing that I almost wrote three years instead of two? I think it’s a good thing. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Part of me feels like I’ve been doing this forever, and the other part feels so out of my depth and like such a novice who is embarrassed every time she clicks the “publish” button on a new post. I’m constantly vacillating between those two things. One thing I do know for sure, though, is how much I adore doing this. It’s an outlet for me. One that I wasn’t sure I really needed but oh so did.
Even if you’re not a food fanatic like me, I hope you can appreciate the content on the site. I do put a lot of time, thought, and effort into every post I share. There are definitely weeks where I want to throw in the towel and scrap the whole thing, and then there the times where I wish this is what I could do full time. Like, as my job. It’s incredibly fulfilling for me on a creative level…even if no one reads or cares. It’s still serving an important purpose for me. So, today, I’m celebrating that with all my millennial, self-absorbed tendencies.
Thank you for reading! Now, let’s get to the cake…
Last year, on my one-year blogaversary, I made you a cake. An epic cake, if I do say so myself. A cake to end all other cakes. A cake that will live in infamy…
OK, that’s enough horn tooting. But really, go check out that recipe if you haven’t already. It’s a winner. To follow up that spectacular dessert this year, I wanted to make another cake but of a completely different style. Something more…subtle. But just as delicious!
Here’s the thing with me and cake: I can sort of take it or leave it. Gasp. I know. I KNOW. People are either in the “GIVE ME CAKE OR GIVE ME DEATH” party or the “eh, give me brownies over cake any day” party. Similar to cilantro haters vs. fans.
While I can certainly APPRECIATE cake, I must say that cookies, brownies, or anything ice cream related…er…take the cake (sorry)…for me in the dessert department. Celebrations, however, always seem a bit incomplete unless there is actual cake around. So, I stuck to the cake celebration tradition on my blogaversary and attempted my very first upside-down cake! With pears! And cardamom! And in all its buttery, caramely goodness, it also can be considered a winner.
Cardamom is one of my most favorite flavors. I’ve talked about it before. It’s just…DELICIOUS in my book. And sometimes really unexpected. I spiced things up with cardamom in the caramelized pear topping AND the cake batter itself. It’s not overpowering, though, I promise! It just adds a flowery, warm sweetness to everything and works SO WELL with the juicy pears. Cardamom caramel may be a thing that lives in infamy in my kitchen (never thought I’d use that expression twice in one blog post).
Quite frankly, despite my cookie preference, this dessert is one of the best to come out of my kitchen. Both my sister and husband were around when this came out of the oven, and they were raving about it once I allowed them to taste it (gotta get those pictures first!). Even my dad, who is NOT a sweets person, enjoyed this cake.
It is perfect for fall. And perfect for a celebration…like blogging for two years! Happy two years to me! Here’s to many more.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
3 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and sliced into ¼-in wedges
1½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine salt
1½ teaspoons ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, separated
½ cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Melt the butter in the bottom of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Add the brown sugar and stir to combine. Once the mixture bubbles slightly, whisk in the salt, vanilla, and cardamom. Remove from heat.
Carefully arrange the pear slices in a circular pattern in the brown sugar-butter mixture, being sure to cover the entire bottom surface of the skillet.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract; beat to combine. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating to combine.
Alternating with the milk, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and mix, on low speed, just until the flour is incorporated.
In a large bowl, beat reserved egg whites and the cream of tartar with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
Pour the batter into the skillet, spreading the batter evenly over the pears and being careful not to disturb the pattern.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Run a sharp knife around the inside edge of the skillet and immediately (and carefully!) invert the cake onto a serving dish or cake stand. Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving with vanilla ice cream.
Adapted from here.