Caramelized Pear & Almond Cake

**Caramelized Pear & Almond Upside Down Cake with Orange Sponge** **Caramelized pear & almond** - Pears / peeled and sliced - Light brown sugar - Unsalted butter - Almond flakes **Orange sponge** - 175g self-raising flour - 1 rounded tsp baking powder - 3 large eggs / whisked - 175g soft butter - 175 caster sugar - 1/2 tsp vanilla extract - 1 orange zest *If you can't get large eggs, just weigh the eggs you got and add the same amount of sugar, butter and flour.*
**I thought it's about time I added another sweet recipe to OSF, and felt like baking a cake this weekend. Having been past so many pastry shops recently and seeing all the delicious tarts topped with summer fruits, I thought I will experiment with a fruit cake that has a fruit layered on the top just like the summer tarts. After some research I realised this is what the cake people call an Upside Down Cake, and pineapple is commonly as the fruit topping. I have decided to use pears as the topping, with a thin layer of almonds just underneath for the crunchy texture, and all sits on a light orange sponge for that summer citrus finish. Hope you like it and of course, feel free to suggest different combinations!** 1. If you have an electric whisk, you can just sieve the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients for the orange sponge. Whisk it all together until you have a well combined and smooth mixture. 2. If you don't have an electric whisk, like me, you will just have to resort to the traditional method of cake making! First combine the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon, until you get a light yellow, smooth mixture. Seive the flour and baking powder into the same mixing bowl (hold the sieve up high, so you get lots of air into the mixture), then add your whisked eggs bit by bit. Blend it all together using a dessert spoon, drawing a figure of 8 in the cake batter, folding the mixture together. 3. Next caramelize the pears by melting the butter in a pan and the light brown sugar, then add the pear slices and cook for about couple of minutes on each side. 4. Grease your cake tins and line with baking parchment. Remember to grease the inside of the baking parchment too. 5. Place the pears in a layer on the bottom, then sprinkle a thin layer of almonds before pouring in the cake mixture. 6. Bake in the oven till golden brown. To test if the cake is done, you can push your finger gently in the centre and if the sponge springs back leaving no impressions, it's ready. Make sure to not open the oven door too soon, as you may deflate the cake while it's still rising. 7. When done, leave to cool then peel back the baking parchment to see your wonderful up side down cake! Gently dust with some icing sugar and serve with a dollop of crème fraîche, or some vanilla ice cream! **For the cake you see in the picture, I actually used one of those glass pots you get when you buy one those expensive chocolate desserts from the supermarket. I also baked one using a bread tin, see it [here.](**