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Upside-Down Honey-Ginger Cake

This is a cake Pooh couldn't resist: rich with honey, hints of cinnamon and caramelized pears. When I brought it in to work, the resounding response, other than "it's delicious," was "this tastes like fall." And it does. I used pears from my parents' neighbor's tree, but you could also use apples or even plums, if you can find them. This is a lot of cake, so I baked it in a deep springform pan and baked the excess batter in a small loaf pan — without pears — so as not to waste it.

Nicole Spiridakis for NPR
Upside-Down Honey-Ginger Cake
Nicole Spiridakis for NPR

Makes 10 servings

4 medium-sized pears, washed and quartered but unpeeled, then sliced into thin, long slices

2 tablespoons butter

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups honey

3 large eggs at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup coffee

1/2 cup orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-4-inch round springform cake pan and a small loaf pan.

Put the butter in the cake pan and put in the oven for about 5 minutes until the butter melts.

Remove from oven and swirl butter around pan, then arrange the pear slices in a circular pattern.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Make a well in the center, and add the oil, honey, eggs, vanilla, coffee and orange juice.

With a whisk, beat the ingredients together to blend well, about 2 minutes.

Spoon batter gently on top of the pears in the cake pan, and into the mini loaf pan. Place cake pans on a baking sheet to prevent any spillage.

Bake the cakes for about 60 to 75 minutes, until done all the way through (the small loaf will take about 35 minutes to bake).

Let cakes stand 15 minutes before removing from pans.