To the Stupid Human Tricks Team...no injuries this year!My friends and I like to gather and do things we like to call "Stupid Human Tricks." I will only say, that you should NOT try these at home, because they are really stupid. But we spend time trying to figure out random body acrobatics, team balancing acts, and other silly stunts that we can pull off. One example of one of these stupid human tricks, was when I said that I had enough leg strength to drag two guys across carpet - and I did- -VERY quickly and very speedily. Unfortunately it gave one of the guys rug burns on his back, so we stopped doing that. The guys do "Cirque du Soleil" movements, where they throw each other in the air, and catch each other and balance in various permutations. It is all very fun and mostly we try stupid tricks and then end up rolling on the floor in laughter. (I actually have video of these things, but I can't post them in order to protect myself from said friends who might have to hurt me for revealing those videos.)
We're getting old and the energy to pull off such stunts is at an all time low. Only I'm not ready to give up on my body yet and the things my body can learn to do. I can still do the splits, and recently I've been learning how to stand on my head AND stand on my hands. They both require a tremendous amount of some sort of strength I must have been lacking, because the effort to get upside down is tremendous. However, I've conquered the fear of standing on my head and I can do it, not fully independent from the wall, but I'm getting there. I'm almost at the point where I can balance on my hands, but I still need some more work in that area.
Why try and get upside down? It's very interesting to see the world from that angle. Things that seem clear and obvious suddenly fade away. Little details that are in the background suddenly come into focus. (Like the dust bunnies under the piano in my house.) Even just bending over and looking through your legs provides a totally different viewpoint. Daughters and Sons regularly get upside down and giggle at all the funny things that they notice. "Mom - you have a booger in your nose" or "Mom your legs look really fat from here." Whatever the reason, getting upside down once in a while doesn't seem to be too bad of a thing - if anything the rush of blood to your head will clear up some of the stuff and nonsense clogged up there.
In the spirit of upside-down-dom and a little fun, I decided to try an upside down cake. Typically upside down cakes are known for their cloying sweetness, so I played with the sugar and butter levels in this cake to really highlight the tartness of the cranberry as well as the richness of the nuts and the natural sweetness of the pumpkin. The result was something yummy but not to sweet that it couldn't be, ahem, enjoyed for breakfast. (which I did.) This would be a lovely addition to any fall dinner or to your Thanksgiving table while not being difficult at all. (no electric mixer needed.) Make it ahead of time, and allow it to cool before serving it.
Pumpkin Cranberry Pecan Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from A Passion for Desserts by Emily Luchetti
Makes 9 inch cake, serves 10 to 12
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups cranberries
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
Place rack in center of oven, and preheat oven to 350. Line bottom of 9-inc squre pan with parchment paper.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and whisk until smooth. Pour the brown sugar mixture into bottom of prpeared pan.
Sprinkle cranberries over bottom of brown sugar mixture and then sprinkle pecans. Make an even layer of the topping.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, and oil. In another bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Story flour mixture into pumpkin mixture. Carefully spread batter over cranberry pecan topping.
Bake cake until skewer inserted in middle comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Place large plate or platter on top of cake. Invert cake and plate together, then remove pan. Carefully peel off parchment.
Cool completely before serving.
Upside down or right side up - delicious.
The delicious book from where I found this recipe