It is officially Autumn and to celebrate, I have made a gluten free Pear and Mocha Upside-Down Cake, with local pears gifted by a friend from her garden. A perfect seasonal offering….. sweet, fruity and comforting.
Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year….. the beautiful, reddening, changing colours of the leaves on the trees,……. the musty, but slightly sweet smell of decaying foliage under the feet,…… the still, cold air on bright mornings, which alternate with contrasting damp mists and squally winds….. It is an exciting time for the senses….. all of them.
With Autumn comes an abundance of delights to light up the taste buds….. As the harvest speeds to its inevitable end and the rewards of the vegetable plot are picked, pickled, frozen, stored or simply scoffed with the joy that comes from just-picked sweetcorn, courgettes, tomatoes and more….
It is the Autumn fruit however, which brings the brightest smile….. Hedgerows woven together and decorated with dark, purple blackberries….. fruit trees heavy with apples, pears and peaches…… squirrels stealing and hiding cobnuts, chestnuts and walnuts for their winter stores….
The pears and apples this year are incredible in my part of the world….. Kent has truly earned its name as The Garden of England. I have been going for walks and literally grabbing flawless, curvy green fruit from over-hanging trees and munching fresh and firm. On almost every corner, people have left boxes of pears and apples with big signs saying ‘please help yourself’, such is the abundance in their yards. Free food doesn’t get better than this and it would be wrong not to exploit every last shared offering.
Those of you who follow my Instagram posts will know that I used a stash of pears to make my favourite Brown-Sugared Pear and Ginger Preserve a couple of weeks back, which is just perfect with cheese. But part of the fun with a good harvest is trying to come up with creative ways to use up all the yummy fruit and veg that comes your way.
And so….. to Mocha-Pear Upside-Down Cake….. Intense, slightly bitter, coffee-infused chocolate sponge, sweetened with unrefined coconut palm sugar and maple syrup, baked over butter-softened pears, then flipped to show its best side. Delicious!
If you’re stuck for free-from ideas, fear not…. between me and my free-from blogger friends we have a whole library of #FreeFromHarvest recipes to share with you this Autumn. Go check them out :
The Intolerant Gourmand : GF DF Apple Crumble; Pumpkin Risotto
Easy Peasy Foodie : Peri Peri Chicken; Vegan Vegetable Korma
Dairy Free Kids : Apple & Blackberry Crumble
Glutarama : Beetroot Brownie Cake
Peachicks Bakery : Pink Pickles
Free From Farmhouse : Pumpkin Pasta
I am also sharing my Mocha-Pear Upside-Down Cake with the following :
Simple & In Season with Feeding Boys
We Should Cocoa with Tin & Thyme
Cook Blog Share with Hijacked By Twins
Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum
Other gluten free ideas on Gluten Free Alchemist to use your harvest :
Brown-Sugared Pear and Ginger Preserve
Heavenly Chocolate Torte with Walnut & Pear
Sweet Autumn Dessert Yorkies with Vanilla Sautéed Pear & Walnuts and Blackberry Coulis
Pumpkin Toffee-Apple Cake
Mixed Berry & Apple Jam
Foraged Blackberry & Apple Oatie Crumble Slice
Apple & Blackberry Curd
Apple, Cinnamon & Mincemeat Cake
Chewy Apricot, Apple, Cinnamon & Maple Flapjacks
Courgette & Cherry Cupcakes
White Chocolate, Lavender & Blackberry Panna Cotta with Blackberry Poached Pears and Blackberry-Cassis Sauce
Autumnal Spiced Pumpkin & Walnut Cakes
Pumpkin, Sultana & Chocolate Chip Cake
Chicken, Squash & Gruyere Quiche
Roasted Pumpkin, Ramiro Pepper & Leek Soup
Baby Kale, Honey-Roast Butternut, Chicken, Parmesan & Pine Nut Salad
Courgette or Marrow with Rich, Dark Puy Lentil Stuffing
Spiralized Oriental Courgette-Noodle Soup
Butternut, Quinoa & Pine Nut Patties
Mocha-Pear Upside-Down Cake (makes 1 x 8 inch cake)
140 ml boiling water
2 large firm pears – peeled and deseeded (sliced lengthways into ‘half-moons’)
a sprinkling of coconut palm sugar or brown sugar of choice
180g gluten free, rice-free flour blend (I used my GFA rice-free blend that you can find here. Or you can use an alternative rice free blend such as Free From Fairy (see side bar for link) or an alternative gluten free blend (with rice) such as my Blend A)
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon GF baking powder
30g cocoa powder
125g butter (or dairy free alternative) – softened
125g coconut palm sugar
50g maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
mocha beans/icing sugar/grated dark chocolate to decorate (all optional)
- Base-line and 8 inch (20 cm) round, spring-form, non-stick cake tin with baking paper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Dissolve the coffee powder in the boiling water and set aside to cool.
- Lightly butter the baking paper in the base of the cake tin and arrange the peeled, deseeded, sliced pears on top. Sprinkle with a little sugar.
- Dab a few small blobs of butter on the pear and place in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the pear is just browning and the butter and sugar are bubbling.
- Remove from the oven and turn the temperature down to 160 C/320 F/Gas 3.
- Weigh and mix together the flour, almonds, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt and cocoa, making sure all the ingredients are well blended and all lumps are broken down (I mix them in an airtight container and shake well). Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and maple syrup with an electric whisk until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs (one at a time) and vanilla extract and beat thoroughly.
- Add the dry ingredients and cool coffee and fold until just combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the cake tin on top of the pears and smooth the batter so that the surface is even.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the cake is set and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and leave the cake for 10 to 15 minutes in the tin to cool slightly, before turning out onto a wire rack (upside-down, so that the pears are on the top).
- Sprinkle with grated chocolate/icing sugar/mocha beans to decorate.
- Enjoy on its own, warm or cold or with coconut cream, custard or ice cream.
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