Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare a 9-inch round baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. You may wish to prepare oven with 2 racks - place one rack in center for cake, and then adjust rack below in order to place a foil-lined baking sheet to catch any bubbles or drips from this cake.
First make topping - in a medium bowl mix together melted butter and brown sugar. Add cream and stir until smooth. Pour brown sugar mixture into the bottom of prepared pan. Arrange the pecan halves, top down, in the brown sugar mixture. Set aside.
Next make cake batter. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition, then add vanilla and blend. Set aside. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, beating on low speed and alternating with buttermilk. Begin and end with flour mixture. Spread batter carefully over the prepared pecan topping and bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Loosen edges with a knife, and and immediately invert the warm cake onto a platter. Replace any remaining topping or pecans from pan onto the cake if need be. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with brandy whipped cream, or regular whipped cream, or ice cream and a dusting of cinnamon if desired.
Best eaten the day it’s made.
Brandy Whipped Cream
1 cup very cold heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp brandy
Ground cinnamon, for dusting
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.