With these ingredients, this cake can't be anything but phenomenal. An earthy, fruit dense cake made with fresh pears that have been roasted in spices, then slurried in a food processor and added to a rich cake batter. Give it a try, even if you're not a pear fan. Rich and fragrant, but not too sweet. Perfectly paired with the Honey Brie Cheese Frosting below. The brie rich buttery frosting goes over the top with a touch of finishing salt. Maldon Finishing salt is a favorite, link provided at end of recipe.
The recipe for the Honey Brie Cheese Frosting is HERE.
Prep Time: 15 minutes plus cake assembly time Yield: 10-12 slices
Grease and flour 2 9 inch cake pans. Set oven to 350 degrees.
2 pounds of fresh, ripe pears, washed thoroughly, split in half lengthwise (green Anjao or Bartlett are excellent choices, you want thin skinned moist pears)
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 tablespoon cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon cardamom, divided
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
Add to the mixture:
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
3-4 cups King Arthur unbleached white flour, fork sifted * with
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 cups roughly chopped walnuts, almonds, or pecans
*Fork sifting is a simple cheat! Simply place the flour in a separate bowl, add the baking powder, and instead of using a "sifter", use a fork to fluff up and incorporate the baking powder into the flour. Use then as directed.
Baking the pears:
On a standard baking sheet, covered in parchment, place the pear halves flesh side down. Drizzle with a teaspoon or two of olive oil, then sprinkle pears with half of the spices and sugar. Put in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove baking sheet with pears from oven, flip pears over with flesh side facing up. Add the other half of the spices/sugar to the flesh side of the pears, returning pears to oven to roast for another 12-15 minutes, until slightly brown and flesh is soft but not mushy. Remove from oven. (This is the time you can skip everything else, and just throw some vanilla ice cream on the warm pears, period, end of story!)
Remove baking sheet from oven, letting pears cool slightly. Pull off stems and discard them (they are soft and easy to remove once pears are baked).
After pears cool slightly, place the stemless pears in a food processor. Add one cup of granulated sugar, (if you want a more molasses taste, substitute light or dark brown sugar.), salt, and cardamom. Process on high for 15-30 seconds.
Remove fruit purée mixture from food processor, pouring it into a large bowl with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large mixing bowl and hand held mixer. Beat the four eggs into the batter, one at a time, until incorporated. Add the flour/baking powder mixture, in stages, to the batter, just until combined.
Divide batter between 2 greased and floured 9 inch cake pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cakes cool on a wire rack.
After cakes have cooled to warm, unmold them. Once fully cooled, cut each of the two layers in half.
Assemble cake, spreading frosting between layers. If using, place chopped nuts against the sides of the cake.
Store in refrigerator, but for best taste, let sit at room temperature 15-20 minutes before serving. Cake keeps fresh in refrigerator for 4 days, or 1 month in the freezer.