Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 15 pieces
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 firm Anjou pears, sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick
1½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup boiling water
⅓ cup molasses
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
⅓ cup canola oil
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 15 standard muffin cups with cooking spray.
Place a piece of butter and a scant ½ tsp. maple syrup in the bottom of each muffin cup. Use a 2½-inch cookie cutter to trim pear slices into 15 rounds. (Keep the seeds in to prevent batter from seeping through.) Place 1 round in each cup.
Whisk flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves in a medium bowl.
Whisk brown sugar, boiling water, molasses, and baking soda in a large bowl until foamy. Whisk in eggs and oil. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, whisking after each until incorporated.
Divide the batter among the muffin cups, using about ¼ cup batter for each. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes.
Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Run an offset spatula around the edges, place a wire rack on top of the pans, and invert to unmold them. Garnish with cinnamon, if desired.
Sugar Substitute: We do not recommend one for this recipe.
Equipment: 2 standard muffin tins, 2½-inch cookie cutter