Today is the day I launch my humble online cake shop. I never like cakes, I am always this pizza obsessive guy but somehow that had led me to culinary and baking. If you are looking for those fancy artsy colorful cakes, you won't find that in my cake shop. Mine are more rustic, moist, dense and intense in terms of flavors rather than airy fluffy spongy and beautiful in presentation. You should know how I like my cakes. Anyway, I featured some of my favorite cakes which I had made in the past. I had revamped some of them for the better.
To celebrate the hard launch, I decided to make this wonderful poached pear almond cake. I seem to like Fall-themed cakes more: pumpkin cake, French apple cake, carrot cake and this pear almond cake. You can check out my cake shop here. I decided to poach my pears the "Poire belle Hélène way" in a spiced syrupy water for more depth of flavors.
Beautiful isn't it? I noticed that the pears in most of the pear cake loaf recipes weren't cored. I wonder how they eat the pear cakes. I of cos cleaned the bottom and cored the pears with a melon baller. If you don't have a melon baller, you can use a small sharp knife. Be sure not to damage the pears. In closing, I really hope you will give this recipe a try.
(Make 1 loaf)
Water, 750ml or More
Dark Muscovado Sugar, 150g
Cinnamon Stick, 1
Star Anise, 2
Lemongrass White Part Only, 1 Stalk
Fresh Orange Zest, 1 Orange
Ginger Thinly Sliced, 1/2 Inch
Pears Preferably Bosc, 3
Unsalted Butter Softened, 110g + More For Greasing
Dark Muscovado Sugar, 75g
Eggs Lightly Beaten, 2
Almond Meal, 110g
Unbleached All Purpose Flour, 50g
Salt, 1/2 TSP
Baking Powder, 1/2 TSP
Pure Vanilla Extract, 1/2 TSP
Almond Flakes, A Sprinkle
Icing Sugar, For Dusting
In a sauce pot, add water, sugar, cinnamon, star anise, lemongrass, orange zest and ginger.
Stir to combine well.
*Lightly bruise the lemongrass with knife, just like crashing a garlic.*
Bring it up to a boil.
Turn the heat down to low and bring it to a slow simmer.
Simmer for about 30 mins.
Remove from heat.
Working 1 pear at a time.
Peel the pear with a potato peeler. If you are good with knives, use a knife instead.
Using a melon baller, gently scrape out the bottom.
Continue scrapping until all the seeds are scraped out.
*Be careful and try not to damage the pears.*
Slice the bottom of the pears to make it flat.
Immediately transfer into the water mixture.
Repeat the process from the remaining pears.
If the water is not enuff to fully submerge the pears, add more water.
Return to a medium heat.
Bring it up to a slow simmer.
Turn the heat down to low.
Cover the pears and water with parchment paper to allow even poaching.
Poach the pears for 30 mins.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool down completely.
Sit in the fridge overnight or up to 3 days.
Prepare the cake.
Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius or 340 fahrenheit.
Take the poached pears out of the syrup mixture and carefully place on a wire cooling rack to drain off any excess liquid.
*You can make tea with the amazing spiced syrup or make a chocolate sauce.*
Grease loaf pan with butter.
Line parchment with the sides overhanging.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add in eggs and continue creaming until well combined.
In another large bowl, sieve together almond meal, flour, salt and baking powder,
Transfer the almond meal mixture into the butter mixture.
Add in vanilla.
Gently fold to combine well.
Transfer into the loaf pan.
Carefully place the pears into the batter with the stems protruding.
Wack into the oven and bale for 40 to 50 mins or until a skewer comes out clean with a few crumbs.
*Half way thru' baking process, take the cake outta the oven and sprinkle almond flakes over the top.*
Remove from oven and set aside for 10 mins.
Unmold and let it cool down completely on a wire cooling rack.
Dust some icing sugar over the top.
Slice and serve.