“And now let us welcome the New Year, full of things that have never been. Things like Whipped Lightning™.”–Rainer Maria Rilke

Maybe I added that last part.

Right now, Whipped Lightning™, an alcohol-infused whipped cream you spray from a canister, is being test-marketed in Florida and Tennessee. Think Reddi-wip but 36.5 proof. I’d already bookmarked the recipe for Warm Pear Ginger Upside-Down Cake with Amaretto Whipped Cream in “The Pastry Queen Christmas,” so I decided to use the Amaretto-flavored Whipahol™ as a short cut.

Whoa, Baby.

Looks like Cool Whip, burns like Hot. Freaking. Fire. Especially if you’re not expecting it.

It’s a product destined for the cocktails of “Woo-girls” everywhere – women who shout “WOOOoooooOOO!” after they’ve got a little liquor in ’em and the bartender announces a drink special or a wedding DJ plays “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Brick House” or “Baby Got Back.”

I can hear it now: “Sex on the Beach with a little Orange Whipahol™, ladies?”


Anyway, I made the cake purely to test the Whipped Lightning™, but the cake is the real standout here. A moist, gingery cake topped with a mixture of butter, brown sugar, candied ginger and a double-layer of sliced pears, sweet and ripe but still firm. The rounded edge is the best part, melt-in-your-mouth buttery in places, then a little crispy from the brown sugar. I also love seeing the chopped candied ginger peeking out of the cake and dancing on top of the pear slices. A lovely way to welcome the new year.


Warm Pear Ginger Upside-Down Cake with Amaretto Whipped Cream

Adapted from Rebecca Rather’s “The Pastry Queen Christmas”

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Use a 9-inch cake pan with sides that are at least 2 inches tall.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 to 3 ripe but firm pears, such as Anjou or Bartlett
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger
    Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur
  1. For the Topping: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Put the butter and brown sugar in the cake pan, and place it in the oven until melted and bubbly, about 10 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, core the pears, and cut them into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Remove the pan from the oven, stir to combine the butter and sugar, and arrange the pears on top of the mixture in a circular pattern. Sprinkle the candied ginger over the pears.
  4. For the Cake: Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat for another 30 seconds.
  5. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. To the butter mixture, alternate adding the flour mixture and milk, starting and ending with the flour, beating on low speed between each addition. Stir in the vanilla and candied ginger.
  6. Pour the batter evenly over the pears. Bake for about 55 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and immediately invert onto a large cake plate. Let cool for about 15 minutes.
  7. For the Amaretto Whipped Cream: Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in the powdered sugar and Amaretto. Serve the cake, slightly warm, with the whipped cream alongside.