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!
- 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
- Preheat oven to 180C and line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
- 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.
- 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.
- Transfer pears to a plate and allow to cool completely then thinly slice to fan.
- Meanwhile, combine flour, brown sugar, spices and vanilla in a large bowl and mix to combine.
- Combine butter, milk and egg, pour into dry mixture and combine.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.