Spiced Pear Cake

Recently my family came for a trip to the country to celebrate my Dad’s Birthday, eat, drink and be merry. Being a birthday, a birthday cake was a must and given the recent Malteser Cake I made for Ben the stakes where set pretty high. Which I didn’t mind, until I remembered the mass of food allergies that were coming with them – no chocolate, no coffee, no nuts, no ginger and no berries. YIKES! Can you even bake without these?!

So I put my mind to it and after some major research the Spiced Pear Cake was born, or developed might be more apt. And… it was delicious!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of wine – I used a spicy Shiraz
  • 1 cup of caster sugar
  • 1 lemon – juiced and rind peeled
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp Queen vanilla bean paste
  • 2 William Bartlett pears – peeled, cut into thirds and cored
  • 1 1/2 cups of wholemeal self raising flour, sifted – plain would work too
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbs of all spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 150g butter – melted and cooled – the cooling is important so your cake batter doesn’t include scrambled eggs
  • 3 eggs – lightly whisked
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • Maple syrup to brush

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Place water, wine, caster sugar, lemon rind + juice, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean paste in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir for 2-3 minutes until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, add pears, cover surface with a cartouche and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until pears are tender.
  4. Transfer pears to a plate and allow to cool completely then thinly slice to fan.
  5. Meanwhile, combine flour, brown sugar, spices and vanilla in a large bowl and mix to combine.
  6. Combine butter, milk and egg, pour into dry mixture and combine.
  7. Pour cake batter into the lined cake pan, arrange the pears on the top of the cake in fans. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a serving plate. Brush with several coats of maple syrup allowing each coat to absorb into the cake.
  9. Serve with reduced pear poaching liquid and good quality vanilla ice cream.

NOTE: a cartouche is a circle of grease-proof or baking paper used to cover a dish while poaching or simmering.

Enjoy!

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