Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Spiced Pear Cake

This cake is the perfect thing to make with all the fresh, ripe, local pears that are in season right now. It is so wonderfully divine that I was hard pressed to share this with my family. I could have happily ate the whole thing myself. It also makes for a lovely treat for breakfast, if you have any left over, that is.

I used ripe Bartlett pears for this cake since that is what I had on hand. It made this cake very sweet and soft. Bosc pears would very work well, they hold their shape when cooked and do not have that candy sweetness that ripe Bartlett's do. Any pear variety will work.

Serves 10

11 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice (or nutmeg if you prefer)
1/4 tsp salt
2 lg eggs
2/3 cup milk

Place 3 Tbsp of the butter in a 9-inch round cake pan. Place the pan in the oven while preheating it to 325°. When the butter is melted, remove the pan from the oven. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the sugar. Place pear slices in a fan pattern in the bottom of the pan, overlapping if needed.

In a medium sized bowl whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, cloves, allspice and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric beater, beat remaining 8 Tbsp butter with the remaining 1 cup of sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add half the flour mixture and mix it in. Then mix all the milk, followed by the remaining flour. Beat just until smooth. Pour batter over the fanned pear slices in the pan.

Bake the cake at 325° for 1 hour, or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake then invert onto a plate. Remove the pan, replacing any pear slices stuck to the pan, and allow to cool slightly.

Serve warm with freshly whipped cream if you like.