5 from 1 vote

(Gluten-Free) Chai-Spiced Pear Skillet Cake

You will love this delicately spiced pear cake!
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 to 10 servings (makes one 9-10" cake).
Author: The Bojon Gourmet

Ingredients

The spiced sugar:

  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar, (5 3/4 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

The cake:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, plus 2 teaspoons for greasing the pan, at room temperature, (8 tablespoons/4 ounces)
  • spiced sugar from above (see instructions)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sweet white rice flour, (4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup millet flour, (1 1/4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup oat flour, (1 ounce)
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour, (1 ounce)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup crème fraîche (or sour cream), (2 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 pounds ripe but firm pears , (about 3 medium)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Instructions

Make the cake:

  • Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350ºButter a 10" oven-proof skillet with the 2 teaspoons of softened butter.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. Set aside 2 tablespoons to top the cake; add the rest to the butter. Cream together the butter and spiced sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the rice, millet, oat, and buckwheat flours, baking powder, and salt. Add half of this mixture to the butter, stir on low until just combined. Add the crème fraîche and vanilla, stir on low until just combined, then add the remaining flour mixture, stirring on low until just combined.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer, and give it a gentle stir with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides to make sure the batter is homogenous. It will be thick and spongy from the baking powder reacting with the acids in the crème fraîche.
  • Cut the pears off of their cores. Cut some of the pear pieces into enough 1/2" cubes to equal 1 cup, and slice the rest into 1/2" thick (at the widest parwedges. Drizzle the lemon juice over the wedges; this keeps them from oxidizing, and gives them a little punch. Gently fold the pear chunks into the batter, then spread the batter evenly into the greased skillet.
  • Fan out the pear slices over the top of the cake with the fatter part facing out. Press them into the batter a little bit; I like to place them at a diagonal so that some cake batter peaks through the fruit. Sprinkle the reserved 2 tablespoons of spiced sugar evenly over the top.
  • Bake the cake until the top is golden and set, the sides are pulling away from the pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45-55 minutes. Since the cake is still cooking from residual heat, let it cool for at least an hour before cutting it into wedges and devouring it with your afternoon (or, ahem, breakfast) tea.
  • Leftovers keep well at room temperature for a day or two; refrigerate the rest after that.

Notes

Organic cane sugar is slightly chunkier than the conventional, fully-refined stuff, and it gives the top of the cake a slightly crunchy crust that I find addictive.
If your pears are very ripe and sweet, you may want to reduce the sugar by 2 tablespoons.
You can make your own crème fraîche by stirring together 1 cup heavy cream and 1 tablespoon buttermilk. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 24 hours, stirring once or twice.
Be sure to use sweet white rice flour here (such as Mochiko brand) which is made from sticky rice and helps the cake hold together. If you only have regular rice flour, you may want to try adding 1/4-1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum along with the flours. If you or your guests have severe gluten allergies, be sure to use ingredients that are certified gluten-free (particularly the oat flour).
I like baking this in my 10" round cast iron skillet, but I think it would fit in a 9" springform pan with 2" high sides, as well.
All ounce measurements here are by weight.
Nutritional values are based on one of eight servings.

Nutrition

Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 267mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 490IU | Vitamin C: 3.5mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 0.9mg
Making this? I'd love to see!Tag your snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet!