Preheat oven to 350 °F.
Place 2 tablespoons butter in bottom of 9-inch square pan and melt in hot oven. Remove from oven.
Slice pears thinly and arrange in pan.
In bowl with electric mixer beat 1/2 cup butter with sugar until fluffy. Add egg, maple syrup, cider and vanilla and beat. Mix together flour, cinnamon, ginger and baking soda and add. Beat in hot water until smooth. Pour carefully over pears and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto serving plate.
While cake cools, prepare icing by beating butter into sugar and gradually adding syrup until smooth and pourable. Pour over cake and smooth with offset spatula.
Allow to set for about 30 minutes before cutting.
"This is a winter recipe. I get my maple syrup from a local farm, and they also make the maple sugar. The pears are grown here locally and under the right conditions will keep during the cold months. You can use other pear varieties, I just like the Bosc because they hold their shape very well. I usually make this cake in October or November when the pears are ripe. Even though the maple syrup is made in February, I think of it as a cold weather ingredient, poured over a hearty stack of pancakes on a wintry morning, or used in baking the way I’ve used it here." Diane Nemitz
Contributor: Diane Nemitz
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