Gluten Free Pear Upside Down Cake

Pear upside down cake, based on almond meal, rice flour and cottage cheese, was another trial for my new favourite pan – low casserole dish with ceramic non-stick surface (Bio+ series from Baccarat). Any gluten free cake benefits from being baked when its top is not directly exposed to the heat. With an excellent non-stick surface this pan was a perfect option for an upside down cake.

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I wanted to have a sound and resilient texture of the cake, and instead of only almond meal as the dry ingredient in previous pear cake, I used the mixture of almond meal and rice flour. Cottage cheese was another ingredient in the cake, but it can be easily substituted gram for gram with ricotta cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 200g cottage/ricotta cheese
  • 150g sugar (sugar to dust the pan is taken out of this quantity)
  • 10g vanilla sugar
  • 2 pears, cored and sliced with skin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150g almond meal, sifted
  • 50g rice flour, sifted
  • 1 tea spoon gluten free baking powder
  • 1 table spoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 tea spoons lemon zest
  • 15g, 1 table spoon unsalted butter to grease the pan and apply to the bottom of the pan
  • 10g, 1 table spoon coconut sugar (raw, brown or Demerara sugar) to give pears extra flavour
  • fruit syrup or glaze, optional (I used my own clear plum syrup)

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Preparation:

  • cut baking paper to fit the bottom of the baking pan (size 21cm bottom, 24cm top)
  • generously grease baking pan, both the bottom and sides
  • place sheet of baking paper on the bottom of the pan, make sure it sticks to the bottom

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  • apply 1-2 table spoons of sugar out of the measured quantity to dust sides of the pan
  • shake the excess of sugar and return it to the bowl

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  • smear butter on the bottom of the pan lined with baking paper
  • spread coconut sugar evenly on the surface

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  • organise pear slices on the bottom of the pan, make sure that there are no gaps in pear layer
  • sprinkle some sugar on top of pear layer, sprinkle with lemon juice

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  • combine cottage cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 sugar in a bowl, mix it together on medium speed until fully combined, beat for 3-4 min

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  • separately beat 2 remaining eggs with another 1/2 sugar until pale and double the volume
  • mix both portions of wet ingredients and add lemon zest

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  • sift and mix dry ingredients – almond meal, rice flour and baking powder
  • carefully combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients
  • spoon the batter into the pan trying to keep pear slices in place
  • level the surface of the batter with palette knife

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  • set fan forced oven to 170C, when temperature reaches 100C place the pan into the oven and bake for 50min (individual oven baking time can be slightly different, the surface of the cake will be firm to touch and the sides of the cake will start to separate from the pan)

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  • let the cake rest for 10-12min in the pan, turn it over on a wire rack lined with baking paper (because the cake sits deep in the pan it might be a good idea to use kitchen towels or pot holders to support the cake and make sure that it does not drop on a wire rack)
  • pour syrup or glaze on top of pears layer if desired

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  • let the cake completely cool down

Pear upside down cake is easy to slice, it has dense, but very soft texture. It keeps the shape and moisture beautifully and does not go dry even in 3-4 days. The cake has different flavours mixed together and softened by cottage cheese. It feels as a very rich cake, when, in fact, it does not include any butter or oils in its batter.

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The cake has a healthy balance of nutrients and is rich in proteins and contains fats, coming from almonds and egg yolks. The cake does not look too fancy, but has a very satisfying nature.  The cake is not too sweet, and though it has substantial quantity of soft cheese, it tastes more like a teacake, and not like cheesecake. I have found that baking upside down cake in low casserole pan was an easy task and I will use this option for these type of cakes in future.

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