Project Food Blog #4: From Upside Down To Right Side Up

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Like stilettos hobbling on the cobblestone in Paris, baking of the vegan variety can be just as treacherous to navigate.

In my dream world, I would own a cookbook like this:

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In reality, vegan baking often requires throwing caution to the wind, a healthy dose of trial and error, and a will to succeed.

(And let’s be real, a few choice words at times…)

I’ve had pancake flops galore.

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Blueberry muffin ‘bricks’.

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And clumpy custard.

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Just to name a few!

But then that moment occurs when time stops and every failed recipe is forgotten.

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Not even Brownies with a bad hair day could take this moment away from you.

You smile.

You cackle with delight.

And you tuck this day away in your memory for you never know what tomorrow’s baking adventures will bring.

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Sometimes in life, we need to turn things upside down to make them right side up.

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Gingerbread Caramel Pear Upside Down Cake: A Step-by-Step Guide

What do you get when you combine Thanksgiving dinner, your mother-in-law’s birthday, and your Aunt’s birthday all into one weekend? One spectacular occasion with loved ones and a couple of Fall-inspired celebration cakes!

For the full recipe in PDF format, click here.

First things first, preheat oven to 325F, take a deep breath, and visualize success. You are half way there already!

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Grease cake pan(s). You can use one 10-inch cake pan or a combination of smaller sizes. I used a 6, 5, and 4-inch pan for a 3-tier cake.

Gather up the troops!

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Peel.

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Now cut 1/4 inch slices.

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Set aside and prepare to make cascading caramel ribbons!

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In a sauce pan, combine 1/2 cup of brown rice syrup and 6 tablespoons of Earth Balance butter. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and then reduce heat to low. Add in 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup, 1 tablespoon of smooth peanut butter, and 2 teaspoons of fleur de sel. Stir well.

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The caramel will start to develop nicely and thicken up after a few minutes.

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Relieve any residual stress by making figure eights.

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Stir over low heat. After a few minutes, you will have a delicious, cascading ribbon of caramel.

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Pinch yourself.

But wait, there is more work to be done before vegan baking victory is yours!

Remove the caramel from heat and pour into the cake pan(s). You only have a window of about 20-30 seconds before the caramel starts to harden, so move quickly!

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Just not too quickly or you might drop the pan in the process…

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But then again you probably aren’t dangling a huge camera from your neck so you should be safe. ;)

Next, layer the pear slices on top of the caramel (I think I was on my 3rd vegan caramel attempt at this point).

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Set aside your cake pans and grab a mixer or some old-fashioned elbow grease. Gather the following ingredients: 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 cup Earth Balance, 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses, 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, 1 cup almond milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel, 1 tsp ground ginger, and 1 tsp ground cinnamon.

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Whip the sugar and Earth Balance until fluffy.

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In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (molasses, maple syrup, almond milk, and vanilla).

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In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients.

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Now take your wet mixture and add a bit to the fluffy sugar mixture. Mix on low to medium speed.

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Add a bit of the flour and mix for another 10 seconds or so.

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Alternate the wet and dry ingredients until heavenly gingerbread cake batter is achieved.

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(Feel free to lick the screen if it makes you feel better. I won’t tell.)

Distribute the cake batter into the cake pan(s).

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I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to have lots of fun here!

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Spread with a spatula until smooth as silk.

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Now for the fun part…

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I’m sure you can find a way to ‘clean’ the bowl. ;)

Bake for about 35-45 minutes depending on the size of your pan(s). Full baking instructions here.

Grab a plate or cake stand and place on top of the pan.

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Flip over and hope for the best. Gently tap the top of the pan and carefully remove the lid.

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As I said, sometimes things must be upside down to become right side up. Words to live by, I say.

Stack tiers (if necessary).

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Sift confectioner’s sugar over top.

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A vegan, Fall-inspired celebration cake that is easy on the eyes and delicious too.

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But, perhaps gingerbread just isn’t your thing.…

(I won’t mention any names.)

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If apples, spices, and caramel are more your thing, just take the above recipe and make 3 easy swaps:

  • Swap apples for the pears
  • Swap maple syrup for the molasses
  • Swap cinnamon for the ginger

 

This is what I’d like to call a 2 for 1 cake. Who doesn’t love a good baking bargain?

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For this Spiced Apple Upside Down Cake, I used three 7-inch cake pans, but you can use one 10-inch pan.

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Flip & Stack.

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If you are feeling truly crazy and adventurous make yourself another batch of caramel and go to town.

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This may be illegal in some countries.

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Please don’t ask me to choose. I just couldn’t.

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And when you see your mother-in-law light up with her beautiful smile, you will say it was worth every second.

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Cheers to our loved ones near and far and to delicious food and drink!

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Note: This is my official entry for Project Food Blog Challenge #4. Voting begins at 9am EST on Monday October 11th. If you enjoyed this post I would greatly appreciate your votes in carrying me into the next round! Click here to vote. Thank you!

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram (@ohsheglows + @theglowspot), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+

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{ 154 comments… read them below or add one }

Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun October 10, 2010

As always, I adore all your photography so getting to see more of it just makes me smile. The recipe sounds phenomenal as well.

And I would like to place an order for that cookbook, please. ;)

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Tina October 10, 2010

My goodness! Such gorgeous photos!

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Dorry October 10, 2010

oh my goodness. this post is so beautiful! and those cakes look so delicious! good luck to you in the project food blog contest – you definitely have a vote from me. :)

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Amanda (Eating Up) October 10, 2010

Hands down the best recipe post I’ve ever seen. EVER!

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Joslyn @ missfitbliss October 10, 2010

Beautiful! LOVE the step by step;)

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Krystina October 10, 2010

You have this competition on the bag

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The Healthy Hostess October 10, 2010

Wow! You outdo yourself everyday! You go girl! You have my vote, as always!
:)

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Hannah October 10, 2010

Ohh I cant wait to try this recipe!!!!!!
I made your pupkin gingerbread cake with the buttercream forsting for my family’s thankgiving dinner, Let me tell you it was a success!!! Not everyone tried it and there are lots of leftovers (score!!!!!) but the ones who did loved it, I even got asked for the recipe!!!
Thanks so much!!!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 10, 2010

So glad to hear this!

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Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 10, 2010

Amazing again. I’m at a loss for words.

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April @ Crazy Fabulous Life October 10, 2010

Wow! That cake looks amazing :) And it’s really refreshing to see someone actually like their mother-in-law! I’ll definitely be voting for you.

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Maya October 10, 2010

Please, please PLEASE make a Martha Stewart Living type magazine one day for vegans. Holy cow, that would be glorious.

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? October 10, 2010

Beautiful, wonderful, creative, and delicious looking.. impressed as always!! You’ve done an amazing job!! Here’s to seeing us both in the final 3!

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lisasfoods October 10, 2010

You’ve got what it takes to win, Angela. Beautiful photos, excellent step-by-step directions, with a dose of your fun sense of humor through and through.

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Toronto Girl West October 10, 2010

I knew I could count on you to nail this one!!! Great job Angela!!! You’re going to go far in this contest!!! :)

How far you’ve come, from the days were you were miserable and unhappy at your job. I still remember the day you quit. I’m proud of how far you’ve come.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 10, 2010

Aww thank you, that means a lot to me!

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stacey-healthylife October 10, 2010

What a great recipe. I LOVE pears so this one is perfect for me. I love the beautiful design on top, and oh that carmel.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 10, 2010

Thanks everyone!! I really appreciate your support.

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Lauren October 10, 2010

Oh my gosh, Angela, this looks sensational! I would buy your cookbook just for this recipe.

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Caroline October 10, 2010

Oh my gosh, Ange, I think you might have out done yourself with this one! What inspired cakes! What beautiful photography! I love that you were able to use the beautiful fall leaves and a nice, crisp green placemat. I love the look of the different tiers on the pear gingerbread cake! Sounds amazing!

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) October 10, 2010

Omg this is QUITE the amazing post!
Love the book and photoshopped title, in your dreams LOL

And the recipes..omg
I will pick apple for traditionalism but pear + molasses for total sophisticated adventure in foodie creations! WOW!

Ok I love caramel. I love it. Honestly I would eat a little dessert/cake WITH my caramel. I mean, it’s where it’s at for me :) And yours…swoon drool devour it.

And you are only 1/4 c away from making all of this GF too! I would make it with a GF flour or oat/almond/rice flour and not only did you veganize it, you are easily able to GF it! I may just do that :)

Oh and nothing worse than stopping every 3 seconds to wipe your hands, get your camera, take 7 pics in case 6 dont turn out, and then add one more ingredient..and repeat w/ camera. I can feel the WORK that went into these recipes and post!!!

Bravo!

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Cynthia (It All Changes) October 10, 2010

Oh my! Oh my! Oh my!

And the commentary is fabulous. This is added to “the list”!

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Bridget October 10, 2010

Angela, this is fantastic! You have to win with a post like . You were born for this!

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Bridget October 10, 2010

and by “post like” I mean “post like this” lol

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Cara Craves... October 10, 2010

Beautiful!
I think you chose the perfect recipe to showcase!

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lindsay October 10, 2010

absolutely STUNNING! This is what you live for and it shows! Such passion, such flavor, such love!

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Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) October 10, 2010

Everything looks incredible, from the ingredients and dirty dishes to the finished product. I’m drooling as much over your stunning photos as the amazing-looking dessert.

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Krista October 10, 2010

You are amazing. I will be shocked if this is not the reader’s choice winner for this round.

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Whitney @ Whitinspired October 10, 2010

Oh my gosh! This has to be reader’s choice!!! I have never been successful with making caramel, I’ll have to give it another try with those ingredients.

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Kelly October 10, 2010

Wow this an absolutely fabulous looking cake- I really wish I could attend events with you where you cook for me haha.

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Wei-Wei October 10, 2010

I think a little part of me died inside.

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Moni'sMeals October 10, 2010

Wow Angela. I think it is yours. :) Your photography is outstanding too.!

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Heather @ Side of Sneakers October 10, 2010

Delicious isn’t really a big enough word for what I think of this :) I was just thinking about how to make a good vegan caramel the other day. This sounds delicious!!!

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Taryn October 10, 2010

Your photography is AMAZING! Love all your pics.

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Anne October 10, 2010

Oh my……licking the screen? You totally read my mind ;) That looks amazing!!

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Loriana October 10, 2010

These look absolutely delicious. So gorgeous, definitely inspired!

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ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska October 10, 2010

What beautiful cakes! You make vegan baking look very very good. :)

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Annie@stronghealthyfit October 10, 2010

What an adorable cake! And perfect for autumn :-) Well done.

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claire October 10, 2010

I made an apple upside cake this weekend…so amazing, right? I bet pear would be so good too!

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Annie (Delicious Wellness) October 10, 2010

Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly bookmark another recipe from your blog, I was proved wrong again.

Angela, your blog is a work of art…I truly feel like I am with you in your kitchen (in the least creepy way possible!!). You prove that vegan cooking ROCKS. I LOVE what you do! Thanks for doing it!!

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CathyK October 10, 2010

just know that the amount of time and energy you devoted to making your recipe and photographing it, then text composing and finally BLOGGING all of the above is SO WORTH IT! you can be proud of both your creativity and the content of your entry – absolutely wonderful. please give yourself a pat on the back!!! :)

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Charlie October 10, 2010

I considered licking the screen :p.
This cake looks amazing. Your caramel looks absolutely delicious (coming from a caramel addict ;))

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Jil @ Peace, Love & Munchies October 10, 2010

Ummm…seriously considered licking the screen. haha That gingerbread batter just looks heavenlyyyy! Both of the cakes sound spectacular!!

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