French Pear (and Cranberry) Cake

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Pear and Cranberry cake (12)

Hmmm.. a Monday morning in mid-December and like everyone else I had masses of things I should have been doing. But I got distracted (butterfly brain, me) by this French Pear Cake..

As I read the recipe – on a website called Pardon My French – I was doing a mental tally in my head:

Pears, yep, got them.

Vanilla – huh – eyeroll.

Eggs, flour etc. All present and correct.

I even had the right sized cake tin. I mean come ON. It would be rude not to…

Also – I’m whispering this bit – I just happened to have a handful of cranberries left over from the massive, massive success of the Pear, Cranberry and Ginger crumble last week. http://eatingforireland.com/recipe/pear-cranberry-and-ginger-biscuit-crumble/ – don’t tell me you haven’t tried it?

Cranberry, Pear and Ginger Crumble (13)

Last week’s Cranberry and Pear offering!

What better way to use them up?

This cake is really light and has a wonderful buttery taste. We liked it very much. Mine didn’t rise as much as I would have expected, but it definitely wasn’t fallen. Personally I liked it slightly warm, about 45 minutes after it came out of the oven. Mr Saturday Night was happy to give it 20 seconds in the microwave several hours later and declared that it was excellent!

Pear and Cranberry cake (2)

EQUIPMENT:

  • An electric beater with bowl
  • A smallish bowl/saucepan to melt the butter in.
  • An 8-inch or 9-inch (20-23cm) spring-release baking tin, base lined with baking parchment, and the sides buttered.
  • A sieve, sitting over ↓
  • a medium -sized bowl
  • A spatula

INGREDIENTS:                                         Pear and Cranberry Cake (4)

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150g Golden Caster sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp /45ml  cold Milk
  • 125g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 large firm pears – not too ripe! About 200g
  • A handful of fresh Cranberries – fresh, not frozen (optional)
  • 2 dessertspoons of Demerara, for sprinkling

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
  • Preheat your oven to 160Fan, put a rack in the middle.
  • Line your baking tin with parchment paper at the bottom and grease the sides with butter.
  • Peel and core the pears, then dice them into 1/2-inch (1.25cm) pieces.
  • In the mixer bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until pale and a ribbon forms from the whisk – usually about 5 (noisy) minutes with my elderly Kenwood.
  • Whisk in the Vanilla and milk.
  • Pear and Cranberry Cake (7)Sift together the Plain flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Remove the bowl from the beater.
  • Add in half of the flour mixture, fold in gently.
  • Fold in half of the melted butter.
  • Add in the remaining flour mixture, then the last of the butter.
  • Fold in the pears (and a decent handful of Cranberries, if using) and mix until they are evenly coated with the batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top a little bit.
  • Sprinkle 2 dessertspoons of Demerara sugar evenly on top of the batter. See NOTES
  • Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes and remove it carefully from the pan. Enjoy warm or cool, served with crème fraiche.

Pear and Cranberry cake (10)

NOTES:

  • I didn’t use anything like the quantity of Cranberries pictured – I’d say 2 good handfuls would be plenty.
  • The original recipe called for Almond Extract, as everyone knows that Pear and Almond are magical together. As we’re a nut-free household I used Vanilla Extract, because Pear and Vanilla are also magical together! Naturally, use the Almond extract if you like it.
  • This cake has a strange consistency – the batter looks slightly curdled when you pour it into the tin, but never fear, it will be fine!
  • The cake is a little fragile when it first comes out of the oven, so be sure to give it at least 15 minutes sitting before carefully removing the tin.

Pear and Cranberry cake (12)

About

I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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