Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 9 & 10 - Pear Gingerbread Upside-Down Cake


Let me first start off by saying "Howdy" to all you Swap Bot people and that I am SOOO sorry you got partnered with me!  I don't have a follow button (I don't know what that is) and I'm not artsy at all.  I can't make cute envelopes or bottlecaps with pictures in them.  I just know how to cook.  So if you like food, some sarcasm, and an occasional laugh or two, then you can follow along.  (I understand if you're just doing this to boost up your ratings too.  I don't blame you.)  But feel free to contribute your comments if you'd like and welcome to my time-consuming hobby for 2010.

For all of my friends and family who've been reading along since the beginning, I will let you in on a little secret "guilty-pleasure" I sometimes indulge in. It's called  (the hyphen is needed).  It is a great place to "swap" things with people.  I've done two so far.  Recipes and blogs.  But the things you can swap run the gambit of homemade stuff to store bought stuff (or technical things like e-mails and blog sites). 

I will warn you though that you should not get over-zealous and join a bunch of them right away.  This site (and the people you deal with) will rate you as you go.  If you don't complete a swap..that's very bad!! You will get a bad rating that people will check out.  If you do a half-hearted swap, people will call you out on it and rate you as such.  So my suggestion is to start off with one swap at a time to get the feeling of how they work.  (That's why I started off with the recipe one over e-mail).  It is a lot of fun!  Plus, you get to deal with people from different parts of the country (even different parts of the world).  So go, all my crafty friends, and check it out.  I think you'll like it.


Okay,  I knew this day was going to come.  Having had a Bon Appetit magazine subscription, I knew that some of their recipes use ingredients that even I have a hard time finding!  Case in point = the ginger preserves for this recipe.   They even give a brand name, "Robertson's".  Okay.  I checked 2 major grocery stores and 2 not so major grocery stores.  NO LUCK!  So, what does a resourceful chef do?  He makes his own!   I found a bottle of quince jam and heated it up with about 2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh ginger, then cooled it off in the fridge.  Tastes like ginger preserves to me.

Other substitutions/laziness
I don't know if it was me not reading the recipe fully or just being lazy, but I had to substitute some ingredients I didn't have in the house.  I just didn't want to go to the grocery store AGAIN!

Self rising flour:  You can make your own self-rising flour (if you don't want to go buy an entire bag for just one recipe).  Here's how.  Makes 1 cup "self-rising flour":

1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Mix well before adding to recipe

Pumpkin Pie Spice:  Makes about 1 Tablespoon

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
3/8 tsp (almost 1/2 tsp) ground allspice
3/8 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of clove (optional) too much clove can overpower everything!  use sparingly

Light Molasses = Honey
I only had dark molasses and it would have overpowered the recipe, so instead I used honey.  (Because I threw away all the corn syrup and will never use corn syrup again!  Corn syrup is bad...real bad!!)


Butter: $1.89
Brown Sugar: (Had)
Anjou Pears: $1.48
Honey:  (Had)
Eggs: (Had)
Quince Preserves: $2.49
Ginger: $0.89
Self-Rising Flour:  (Made/Had)
Pumpkin Pie Spice: (Made/Had)

Total $6.75


Fast:  No.   It took a while since it's a cake.  Baking was about an hour and prep was about 25 minutes (It'll take you about the same amount of time even if you have all of the real ingredients).

Easy:  No.  I base this solely on the ginger preserves.  They are hard to find, but necessary for the recipe.  If you don't add it, your cake batter will be messed up.  I suppose you could substitute some other flavor, but since this is suppose to be "gingerbread" you need the ginger flavor.

Fresh:  Surprisingly, yes.  I can really taste the fresh ginger flavor and the pears.  This cake is uber sweet!  (Lots of sugar in it..sorry diabetics).  Slightly undersweetened whipped cream goes great with this cake as it will cut the sweetness and balance out the tang of the ginger.

Overall:  This is a keeper recipe.  I definitely will stick to the honey as it plays well with the other flavors of the cake.  I think molasses would be too "in your face".  I will still search for ginger preserves for the rest of the year, but in the meantime stick to my creative substitution. 

Tomorrow is Tip Day!  And welcome again Swap-botters!


Batmamma said...

Not a partner in this swap but i will follow based only on the pic of that cake! :D

Nikki said...

Ooh, I just tasted the sample you gave me last night. Quite yummy and I agree with your "fresh" rating. At first I was going to disagree with you that it really wasn't that sweet. But around my third or forth bite, the sweetness really started to linger. It's interesting that way. Most sweet things, say a sugar cookie, or chocolate cake or even a spoonful of honey hit you right away, as our sweet-tasting taste buds are on the tip of our tongues. I think it's the fresh ginger you put in that pulls the sugar to the back where we taste citrus and spicey notes. Acidity and sour characteristics usually have a bright and cleansing quality and have a short-lived aftertaste. The sugar makes the ginger stick around a bit to keep it company. It's a keeper.

penaddictkitty said...

Hey, I'm one of your partners (kaytd89) in the be my blog follower swap on swap-bot.
O.O I am thoroughly amazing by your cooking skills. My specialty is boiling water. I made pancakes once, following the recipe exactly, and it came out burnt as charcoal on both sides and still magically uncooked in the middle.
And I somehow always manage to burn myself! XD
Definitely looking forward to reading more of your blog!

O Arrow said...

Hi! I'm your partner for the swap-bot blogger swap. This looks like a really fun and delicious blog, I'm looking forward to coming back for seconds.

Deb said...

I am from swap-bot and found your blog through you being assigned to follow my blog. I do wish you had a follow button, as I would be very interested in following your blog.
My daughter (aged 17 and a jr in high school) has decided that she wants to go to culinary school and be a pastry chef as well.

I love how the read of your blog goes and is easy to follow and understand. Good luck with the chef thing and maybe we'll see you one day on Food Network! :)

Deborah (debrbrts)

dinoprincesschar said...

hello, i'm one of your followers from swap-bot too, but i have been inspired by your yummy blog to do a cake post of my own, which may interest you a little more than the current ones which are all about shoes :P

pandagirl37 said...

I am trying to diet. This picture and yor recipe makes me want to bake. Thankfully most of my pots and pans are packed away. I have been living in a temporary place for two years. yikes

Peace said...

Check it out, I came back!! I didn't just ooze over for a rating. You made me smile more than once so you get a gold star on your virtual forehead.
Also, here's a Did You Know about your blog: up at the top there's a FOLLOW. If peeps are signed in, they can follow you, no button required! At this point let me add, not a stalker here, just a bottle cap floozie. And thanks for following me in a non-stalkerish way as well! :O)

SuperStar Chef Mark said...


Thanks for the tip on the follow button. I wish you would have enlightened us before! (When I followed all my partners, I did it the round aboutway!) And thanks for coming back. :) I'm so excited to have my first blog stalker!! Sorry Nikki you don't count.

Angie said...

This is lullabye123 from swap-bot. Wasn't partnered with you, but I am mightily entertained by your blog.

Thanks for sharing.