- 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 firm pears, peeled, cored and sliced into ½-inch wedges
- 1 cup fresh or frozen whole cranberries
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup molasses
- 4 ounces (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. After the butter foams, reduce heat to low, then sprinkle brown sugar over bottom of skillet and cook, untouched, for 3 minutes. Arrange pears in concentric circles and sprinkle cranberries over the pears. Cook, undisturbed, 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking soda, spices and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a large measuring cup, whisk together molasses and one cup hot water.
Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Alternately mix in flour mixture and molasses in three batches at low speed until smooth. Pour batter over topping in skillet, spreading evenly over the fruit. Bake a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let the cake cool 5 minutes.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan to help loosen the cake. Place a platter over skillet. Invert and serve warm with whipped or ice cream.