Almond Cake with Whole Pear

This cake isn’t difficult to make, but it is impressive and very tasty. The flavours are perfect for a cold autumn day.
I have provided two options below. I like making this cake as two smaller 20cm round cakes, with a single very thick pear in the center. However, if you don’t have small cake tins, or if you prefer a single cake, you can use a high 25cm springform or cake tin instead. Press the three pears together in the middle, the stems upwards. The method below explains both results.
As the cake is relatively crumbly, you can use the poaching liquid to add a few tablespoons to the cake just after baking, so do not throw away the liquid (don’t do that anyways, it is wonderful in tea, added hot to white wine, or can be used as a sauce for desserts if simmered down).

Ingredients:

For the pears:

  • 300ml muscovado wine
  • 300ml white wine
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cloves
  • 200gr sugar
  • 2 or 3 thick pears (2 when making 2 smaller cakes, 3 for a large springform)

For the cake:

  • 250gr butter
  • 200gr sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 250gr flour
  • 75gr almond flour
  • 5 tbs baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Makes 1 large springform or 2 smaller 20cm cakes.

Recipe:

Combine the wines, nutmeg, star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves and sugar in a saucepan which fits all the pears. Peel the pears but leave the stem intact. From the bottom up, cut away about 5cm of the core, which I do by cutting into the pear from the bottom and wiggling my knife around to remove the center. All you want to do is to remove the core and any seeds, but the top half of the pear core can stay intact, as this is just a thin line upwards to the stem.
Cook the pears in the poaching liquid for 60min. If you are using thinner pears (mine were about 12cm wide) you can poach them for 30-40min instead. Be careful with the flame, I once came back into the kitchen and found my pears flambing instead of poaching.

While the pears are simmering away, you can make the cake batter. Cream together the butter and sugar until light, then add the eggs one by one, mixing well in between each addition. Combine the flour, almond flour, baking powder and cinnamon, and mix this into the batter after the eggs have been well incorporated.

Spoon the batter into two prepared (buttered and floured) 20cm round cake tins or springforms. Press a pear into the center of each cake.
If using a single larger springform of 25cm (make sure it’s high, this batter rises quite a bit), press the three pears together in the batter in the middle of the springform, their stems pointing upwards. Spoon a spoonful of dough in between the pears.

Bake the cakes for 35min (45min for the larger cake) on 170°C.

This is a crumbly cake with a moist pear center. If you want the cakes to be more moist, simply spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the poaching liquid over each cake when it just comes out of the oven.

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