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I was in baking mood this morning, or probably baking was an excuse to dodge chores I couldn’t bring myself to tackle. Yes, not today, I kept telling myself. But you know what such days are like. The ingredients I needed to bake what I craved – strawberry cheesecake – I didn’t have and I was feeling too lazy to go shopping. So I kept going from room to room not knowing what I was looking for. And there they were, a few pears in the fruit bowl that were a bit too hard and not very sweet so no one had touched them.
A while back I had made a pear and ginger cake with walnuts that tasted incredibly good. But as happens I didn’t have walnuts. So I made this one, which is really delicious even without walnuts. But do stir a handful of chopped walnuts into the batter. You can never go wrong with walnuts in spicy cakes.
I made the cake and it turned out really nice although cakes like this need to sit for at least a few hours for the flavours and the texture to develop. I sprinkled it with icing sugar like I usually do. I’m not a big fan of icings. It was delicious as it was but I felt like something was missing because today I wanted more than cake. I needed dessert. Salted toffee! It’s really easy to make and I did have cream, butter and sugar. And it worked like magic. The perfect dessert!
Next time you need a cake to share with family or a dessert to finish off the Sunday meal, give a try to this one. Let me know what you think. Your feedback is always appreciated!
For the cake:
- 150g dark brown sugar
- 250ml olive oil or vegetable oil
- 4 medium eggs
- 275g flour
- 1 1/2 tbs ground ginger (less if you wish so)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- About 400g of firm pears
- Extra sugar for coating pear slices
For the salted toffee sauce:
- 250ml double cream
- 100g light muscovado sugar
- 100g butter
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F (170C fan assisted). Line the bottom of a 26 cm round cake tin with baking paper. Lightly oil the sides of the tin.
- Take two long slices from the middle of each pear, about 3-4 mm thick, and set aside for decorating the top. Cut the rest of the pears into small cubes (about 250 grams chopped). Set aside.
- Put the flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix well with a whisk or fork.
- Put the sugar in another bowl and add the olive/vegetable oil. Beat on medium speed for three minutes or until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the eggs to the sugar one by one, beating well after each egg is added.
- Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat on low speed to incorporate. Add the rest of the flour mix in two batches and beat to incorporate, then beat the batter for 2 minutes on medium speed. Stir in the chopped pears with a spatula and mix well.
- Pour the batter into the lined cake tin. Dip the reserved pear slices in sugar (only one side). Arrange the slices on top of the batter (sugary side up).
- Bake the cake for 50 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the tin, then turn out on a plate. Cover with another plate and turn so the decorated side is facing up.
- To make the toffee sauce put the sugar, cream and butter in a small saucepan. Stir well and cook on medium-low heat until it’s bubbly and toffee-coloured. Add the sea salt and stir to dissolve. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Serve warm with the cake.