Monday, December 26, 2016

Fresh Pear Cake

When I was trying to decide what to make for my workplace's annual holiday luncheon, I had a hard time. I feel pressure to make a fantastic dessert and not to repeat myself, but I had already made Buche de Noel, stollen, gingerbread, Lemon Gingerbread Wonderland Cake, Cocoa Pomegranate Pavlova, and a striking Wintermint Cake.

I had pears in my head and that's the direction I pursued. I couldn't make a pear tart because my tart pan is missing its bottom, so I went looking for pear cakes. One recipe had a maple frosting; that sounded good. Another had a whipped brown sugar buttercream. I used that recipe but ran out of brown sugar before I got to the icing, and ended up making a cooked flour icing. I'm not sure what I think of that one so I'll just link to it (I've tasted good cooked flour icings so I'm guessing baker error!). If you want the brown sugar buttercream, please follow the link to the original pear cake recipe.

My co-workers seemed to enjoy this cake. I was worried it was too moist, because after making the pear puree I just dumped it all in rather than measuring. But the technique used with the pears makes the freshest pear flavor in the cake! I think I might like this better with a cream cheese icing, or that original maple idea, but the cake itself is worth trying for sure.

Fresh Pear Cake

6 ripe medium-sized pears (19 ounces, peeled and cored)*
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Peel and slice pears thin. Mix sliced pears with both sugars in a bowl. Let sit for one hour, then purée pear mixture in a food processor or blender.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, then grease with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, use a fork or whisk to stir flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg together. Add pear purée, eggs, oil, and vanilla and stir just until combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 30-33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with few crumbs attached. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
Jenny's notes:
I used an immersion blender for the pear-sugar mixture.
I used 9-inch cake pans.
I wonder if pear nectar would have been a decent substitute for all the pear hassle, but can't recommend it yet!

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