I’m joining The Novel Bakers with
I swooned when saw the pear cake on the
cover of this cookbook and had to try it.
I made this cake twice, the first time was a hot mess.
The recipe is written with European butter in mind and reads:
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (200 g) butter.
Wow I thought, that’s a lot of butter, 3 sticks for a loaf cake! Then I continued on my merry mary way not looking up the tablespoon equivalent of 200 grams. The moral of that story is follow your instincts and don’t be in such a hurry.
Yes that is WAY too much butter, almost twice too much. 200 grams is equal to 14 tablespoons of butter, or 1 1/2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons.
Moving on to the best part of this cake. . .
The pears and the poaching liquid. . .
The pears are poached in wine, sugar, cloves, star anise, cinnamon and cardamom.
Cardamom, where have you been all my life?
Here’s the recipe from Home Made Winter,
with my notes added:
Cardamom Cake with Whole Pears & White Chocolate
1 loaf cake (8-10 servings)
For the Pears:
3 medium-sized crisp, Bosc pears, peeled but whole, with the stem left on (Bosc pears hold their shape with the poaching and baking time, I could only find large ones)
1 (750-ml) bottle dry white wine
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 star anise pods
8 cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
For the Cake:
14 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks plus 2 tbsp) softened
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (If you don’t have self-rising flour, sift/whisk together 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder with 3/4 teaspoon salt for 1 1/2 all purpose flour. There is a handy conversion calculator here.)
1 generous tbsp ground cardamom
pinch of salt
*3 oz white chocolate, in chunks (*I dusted with powdered sugar instead of using white chocolate)
Poach the pears: In a large saucepan, combine the pears, wine, sugar, cloves, star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon and poach for 30 minutes over low heat.
Take the pears out of the liquid and set aside to cool. Add 2 1/2 cups (500 ml) water to the poaching liquid and boil to reduce the liquid by half. Let cool.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper.
Using a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy. Beat in the eggs one at the time. Don’t add a new egg until the previous one is incorporated. Sift the flour, cardamom, and salt over the batter and fold it in.
Spoon the batter into the pan.
Press the pears in the batter, stem end up.
My tip: Cut off the bottoms off the cooled pears before adding them to the batter so they are flat, and don’t tilt while baking. Lesson learned from the first hot mess cake.
Bake for *40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake part comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan, then gently remove the cake from the pan to a rack to cool completely. (*My cake took closer to 55 minutes to bake, but I kept opening the oven to check. Tent with foil during last 10 minutes or so of baking time to prevent over browning.)
*Very carefully melt the chocolate:
Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir the chocolate in the bowl until melted. Using a spoon, drizzle the chocolate over the cake and create nice stripes on top. *(I skipped this step and dusted with powdered sugar instead).
Let the chocolate dry for a bit and serve the cake in thick slices, with the reduced pear syrup.
The reduced spiced pear syrup, aka nectar of the gods, is worthy of its own post! In addition to spooning over the cake, it makes a perfect ingredient for a cocktail!
Take your reserved spiced pear syrup, (amount is up to you) and add to a champagne flute, along with a few pear slices.
Top with sparkling wine of choice, Prosecco or Cava.
I used Cava which has a few more bubbles than Prosecco, its Italian cousin, and is also drier, for the pear syrup.
If you’re looking for an affordable sparkling wine to serve for a crowd (or for just for two :) Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava is a perfect party starter and great value at $7.99, with an 88 point rating from Wine & Spirits Magazine.
I’m joining The Novel Bakers for
Home Made Winter this week. . .