Four months ago I'd had enough. This was getting personal. I wasn't used to anyone pushing me so far, week after week, least of all a plant...
I took to the impossibly persistent vine with mad swings, hacking at the healthy green tendrils with razor sharp secateurs. Heart heavily palpitating under the scorching summer sun and reminiscent of a sweaty woman gone wild in the jungle- I lasted a measly twenty minutes before running my head under the hose.
After filling the compost bin with leafy pieces of the passionfruit vine, and dancing about when the odd spider dropped out to frighten me, I began to unravel the remaining long sections and train them along the fence.
Fast forward several months and despite my best efforts to uncover the struggling little lime tree, it's now hidden beneath a canopy of thriving interlaced vines, heavily weighed down with bulging passionfruit. My washing line now serves as a nursery to rapidly growing baby passionfruit and every so often when I'm in my backyard I will hear the familiar thud of another piece of sun-ripened fruit falling into the garden bed below.
I'm no longer angry with the persistent plant. It turns out my rather brash reaction to prune it back served to help it blossom with the most elegant white and violet flowers that gave way to an incredible abundance of sweet fruit.
Pear and Passionfruit Upside Down Cake
2/3 cup brown sugar
250 g unsalted butter
3 large firm pears, peeled, cored and sliced into 15mm wedges
1 1/3 cups raw caster sugar
3 large free range eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup passionfruit pulp (approx 3 passionfruit)
3/4 cup almond meal
1 2/3 cup gluten free plain flour
1 1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder
2 large passionfruit to decorate
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350F), or 160 degrees Celsius (320F) if fan-forced. Grease a 26cm (10 inch) springfrom cake tin with butter and line the base with greaseproof paper.
Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the base of the tin, then melt 80g of butter and pour over the brown sugar. Next, arrange the pears in a circle around the base of the tin, slightly overlapping the wedges.
In an electric mixer, beat the remaining softened butter with the caster sugar until pale and soft. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Gently pour in the milk and passionfruit pulp, beat until just combined.
In a separate bowl, sift the almond meal and flours together, gently fold the dry mixture into the batter until incorporated.
Carefully pour the cake batter over the pears, smooth the top of the cake and bake for approximately 75 minutes.
The cake is cooked when it begins to turn golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Allow to cool slightly in the tin before removing the edges of the springform tin. Place a plate on the cake and carefully invert the tin, peel away the base of the cake tin and greaseproof paper.
Decorate the golden pear base with fresh passionfruit pulp and serve warm (whipped vanilla bean cream optional- Oh my giddy aunt, YUM!)
We shared our cake with our beautiful neighbours in the late afternoon, just before the sun dipped low in the sky casting rays of autumn sunlight through the giant coastal pine trees.
This is our moist pear and passionfruit upside down cake. A perfectly sweet way to enjoy a lazy afternoon with friends.
What are your favourite fruit choices for upside down cake? If you share them in the comments below, I just might attempt to bake them and post the results in future posts...
Happy Friday dear friends!