Thursday, February 11, 2010

caramelized pear upside-down cake

ok, I'm little late on posting, I made this cake in the same week that I made cheesecake.

this one is one of my favorites. I tried apple before but caramelized pear something else,... yummy...
the recipe is from "sweet cakes" and here it is :

2 medium pears
1 recipe of basic caramel ( I posted at the end)
2 oz ( 4 Tbs.) unsalted butter , cut into 4 pieces

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
   1/2 tsp. ground ginger
   1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
   1/4 tsp. salt
   1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
   1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs

heat up the oven to 350. and butter the bottom and sides of your pas. a round pan ( not use a spring-form pan) is recommended but I used square pas.

peel, core the pears lengthwise into slices. arrange the pear on the bottom of the pan in a circle around the edge (if you are not using a circle pan , just fill one row with pears and go to the next row). the pears overlap each other slightly. at the end the bottom of the pas should completely covered with pears.

make the basic caramel ( direction at the end). immediately remove the pan from the heat and whisk 4Tbs. of butter one by one till they are completely melted. pour the hot caramel over the pears. it should completly cover the pears and do not go on the bottom of the pan.

mix the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. in a smaller bowl mix the milk and vanilla together.
in another bowl,mix the butter with electric mixer till it is fluffy ( about 1 minute). in the medium speed , slowly add the brown sugar. increase the speed and mix for about 2-3 minutes. reduce the speed to medium again and add the eggs one by one.
reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture and milk mixture in five additions, starting and finishing by flour. do not over-mix.
spoon the cake batter on the top of  pears and smooth and even them. bake till the top is golden brown about 35-40 minutes.
transfer the pan to the rack and cool about 5-10 minutes.

 this will give you about 2/3 cup of caramel.
1 cup of sugar
1/4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup cold water
 in a sauce pan stir sugar, lemon juice and cold water. bring to boil ( the side of the pan should be clean of any traces of sugar). it takes about 5-8 minutes that mixture starts to color around the edges. gently swirl the pan to even out the color. continue to cook till it turns medium amber. keep an eye on it because it changes color very fast. then remove it from the heat.

if some of the caramels leak to the bottom of the pan, when it is cooled , it will be hard to get the cake out. you could turn the pan upside down when it is rather hot or like me, you could put the pan on the steam for a couple of minutes and like this the cake will come off very easily.
this is a such delicious cake so bake it and enjoy!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

cheese cake as a birthday cake...

last weekend was one of my friends' birthday and I decided for the first time to bake a cheese cake as a birthday cake. my first attempt in cheesecake process was not completely successful so there was a huge chance that  this time the cake won't come out very well either. the birthday was on Friday night so I  prepared it the night before.. so till the time I served it I had no idea how it was going to be.but anyway it was not that bad ( that's what everybody said and I hope they weren't just being nice )
here is the recipe and it is from the "sweet cakes"

new york style cheesecake

For the crust 
5 3/4 honey ground graham crackers
2 1/2 oz (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar ( I did not use sugar in my crust)

For the cheesecake
4   8-oz package of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cup  of sugar
1 Tbs. flour
4 large eggs
3/4 cup of sour cream
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
Important note :set all the ingredients at least 4 hours before you start baking ,out of fridge.

Make the crust:
heat the oven to 350 C. combine the cracker with melted butter till the crumbs are evenly moistened. put these crumbs in a 9-inch pan and press them with a back of a spoon into the bottom and walls of the pan. bake them for about 5-7 minutes. be carful that you don't brown the crust. let the pan cool on a rack while you prepare the cheesecake.
make the cheesecake batter
with the mixer beat the cream cheese with sugar at medium speed till it's fluffy ( about 2 minutes).on the low speed add the flour and one at a time add the eggs beating for about 15-20 sec in between. add the sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla. the batter should be smooth and the consistency of a thick milk shake.

Bake the cake in a water bath 
wrap the outside of the pan in 2 sheets of heavy duty aluminum  foil to make the pan water proof.brush the crust with a light coating of melted butter. then pour the batter into the crust. put the cake pan in another pan and carefully  pour water into the big pan till it reached halfway to the wall of the cake pan.bake at 350 for an hour. after an hour you could open the door of the oven and check the top if it's golden( when you shake the pan a little jigil in the middle is ok, it will set when it cools ) about 1h 10 to 15 minutes is enough.
remove the pan from the water and let it cool on wire rack. run a knife around the inside of the pan to free the cake from the sides.
after it is barely warm you could refrigerate it for at least 8 hours, or even better overnight.
for serving it , I put fresh blueberry on top, I did not had much time ( 30 minutes to get myself ready and the topping before going to the party) but it is much better to fix the blueberries with a thin layer of gelatin or
In the original recipe, the recipe for the cranberry- cointreau sauce is described wich used for the topping. I'll try that next time.

golden top
comments: this time the cheesecake did not crack on the top and was much softer than the first time. I think baking in the water bath helped a lot and the fact that I did not let it bake too much.