A cake made with potatoes may sound odd, but the mashed Idaho variety has a surprisingly neutral flavor and creates a super-moist crumb, reminiscent of milk cake, which makes it a perfect match with fruit and caramel. For a lighter and fluffier cake, use a ricer to mash the potatoes.
|1 Idaho potato, peeled and quartered||1 teaspoon vanilla|
|1 stick unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing||1 cup all-purpose flour|
|1 cup granulated sugar||1 teaspoon baking powder|
|1 large egg||2 firm but ripe pears (D'Anjou), cored and thinly sliced|
|cup whole milk||1/3 cup caramel sauce|
In a medium saucepan, add the potato and enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until potato is fork tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and mash.
Heat oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9-inch round cake pan. In the bowl of a standing mixer (or using a handheld mixer), beat the softened butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down bowl with a spatula and beat in the egg. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk and vanilla into the mashed potatoes then beat into the batter. Add flour and baking powder to the mixing bowl and beat until the batter is smooth, about 2 minutes.
Spread out the pear slices along the bottom of the prepared cake pan, making an even layer of fruit. (No need arrange slices in any particular way.) Drizzle the caramel sauce over the pears (if the caramel sauce isn’t pourable, warm it before drizzling). Pour cake batter into the pan and bake until sponge-like, 45 to 50 minutes. Place on a cooling rack. When cooled, invert onto a serving platter.
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