Everyone loves the holidays, but sometimes hosting a dinner party can be very stressful. So, this year for the holidays, let’s try a new approach. Let’s go into this holiday with a plan for the work to be minimal, for the focus to be on the guests and not so much the food, and for the entertaining to be simple. My idea is to host a small dessert gathering with just one or two desserts!
I can’t tell you enough as a hostess how quickly I can create a dessert or two in my kitchen using my KitchenAid® products. I made this Pear Cranberry Upside Down Cake in no time – pulling it out of the oven, flipping it over, and serving it warm to my guests for a casual dessert gathering.
Not only did I feel confident that my dessert would be fabulous, I was convinced that my guests would feel cared for, loved, and appreciated. Dessert always has a way of doing just that!
My tips for holiday entertaining:
1. Make a plan. Make a list of everything you will need. Who are you inviting? What is the time? What desserts will you make? Don’t forget the festive drinks! And lastly, how will you serve the food and where?
2. Potluck. Depending on the size of the group, will others be contributing to the gathering? Sometimes this is a nice approach if you don’t have time to make all of the desserts.
4. Advance preparation. Desserts can be made ahead and frozen, which is always a nice option. For me, I love to bake a cake and have it hot and fresh out of the oven when my guests arrive.
5. Serve buffet style. There’s nothing like setting out a beautiful dessert on the table and letting your guests help themselves. Don’t forget the forks and napkins!
A dessert gathering is informal, casual, delicious, and there’s just no pretense involved. It says, Come to our home for a sweet bite of holiday cheer!
Pear Cranberry Upside Down Cake
Makes 8 servings
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/4 cup for the pear cranberry mixture
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, whisked
2 ripe pears, peeled & cut into 8 wedges each
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9″ round baking pan (a 9×12 pan works, too) with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
Melt 1/4 cup butter and stir in the 1/4 cup brown sugar until blended. Spread over parchment paper.
In a pan of boiling water, boil 1 cup of cranberries for 3-5 minutes until they begin to pop. Drain and set aside.
Peel and slice the pears, arranging the slices on top of the brown sugar mixture. Sprinkle the top with the drained cranberries.
Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk to combine using a KitchenAid® Stand Mixer.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading on top of the pears and cranberries. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven; transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, using a KitchenAid® Hand Mixer, whip 1 cup of heavy whipping cream until creamy and thick, adding in the brown sugar and vanilla. Set aside.
Run a knife blade around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Lightly tap the bottom of the pan to loosen the cake, then lift the pan.
Peel off the parchment paper. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature, and top with whipped cream right before serving, if desired.
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*