Upside Down Pear & Almond Cakes

I recently spent a crisp fall morning at the Union Square Greenmarket, shopping for props for a shoot, and got horribly distracted by the beauty of these pears. So much so that they inspired this simple little still life and the desire to make some yummy treats with them. I am sad to say I am not a professional baker, so do not have personal recipes up my sleeve. But through some quick googling, found this simple and delicious recipe for these Upside Down Pear & Almond Cakes.

Ingredients (makes 12 small cakes)
- 2 tbsp butter, cold, cut into 8 pieces             - 1/2 cup sugar
  (I did 12 because of my muffin tin)                   - 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup brown sugar                                         - 1/8 tsp salt  
- 1 whole large pear                                             - 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour                                   - 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup almond meal (I subbed finely              - 2 tbsp butter, melted, cooled
   ground almonds)                                               

Preheat oven to 350 F

Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Place one small piece of butter into each muffin cup. Top each cup with 1 1/2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Place pan in over for 3 minutes, just until butter melts. The sugar will not be fully melted. Allow pan to cool for a few minutes before proceeding.

Cut pear into very thin slices, taking care to slice around the core. Lay about 3 slices of pear across the bottom of each muffin cup, on top of the butter and brown sugar. It's fine if they go up the sides. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, almond meal, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and whisk until well-combined. Add in eggs and vanilla extract and whisk until batter is smooth. Add in melted butter and whisk until butter has been completely incorporated. 

Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. I filled my cups just half way, as they rise a lot. I got about 12 cups out of the mix.

Bake for 19-22 minutes, until the cakes spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Let cool rack, and then enjoy!