1/2cupunsalted butter(8 tablespoons/1 stick) at room temperature
1cuplight brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cupfresh or frozen cranberries
PREPARE THE PAN AND PEARS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x2" round cake pan with a round of parchment paper. Spray with vegetable spray and set aside.
Peel the pears, slice in half and remove the seeds (I use a melon baller for this). Slice the pears into 1/4" slices and arrange over the parchment paper, slightly overlapping the pears.
MAKE THE CARAMEL
Add sugar to a small saucepan and place over medium high heat. Don't disturb the sugar, let it start to melt. When the sugar starts to dissolve, carefully stir it to mix the sugar crystals with the melted sugar, but try not to splash the sugar onto the sides of the pan. (If a lot of sugar crystals stick to the sides of the pan, you can brush them down with a little water, but it's easier if you just don't get the sugar on the pan).
Continue to cook the sugar and let it caramelize to just beyond a golden color, like a medium amber, but remove it from the heat before it gets too dark or smells like it's burning. Add a tablespoon of butter at a time and stir into the caramel until melted and incorporated before adding the next tablespoon.
Immediately pour the caramel sauce over the pears. It will fill in and around the gaps. Set aside.
MAKE THE CRANBERRY CAKE
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
Place the butter in a large bowl and use a stand mixer or hand mixer to beat until soft and creamy, scraping sides of bowl as you go.
Add the brown sugar to the butter and beat on medium high speed for about 3 minutes until the mixture is very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until well blended before adding the next egg.
Combine the milk and vanilla bean paste (or vanilla) and whisk together.
Alternate adding flour mixture and milk mixture to the creamed butter, beating just until the ingredients are combined before adding the next. Do this in 5 additions starting with the flour. The batter will be thick.
Fold in the cranberries.
Spoon the batter over the pears and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before running a sharp knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it. Place a cake platter over the top of the cake and quickly invert it onto the platter. Lift the pan and pull away the parchment paper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yes - ice cream or whipped cream would take this over the top!