Thursday, 22 July 2010

Pear and Walnut Cake

Given the choice of a fabulously pretty cupcake or a more plain looking fruit-laden cake, I'll choose the fruity one pretty much every time. I like to look at the pretty cakes, but I prefer to eat the uglier ones. You can't go far wrong with a carrot cake; a good banana cake will always make me happy, and anything with apples or pears in will generally be good in my experience. I like dense, moist satisfying cakes. This is one of them.

It's based on a Joy the Baker recipe for Apple, Walnut and Flaxseed bread . I'm not sure why I decided on pears rather than apples - they just looked nicer in the shop I think. I haven't adapted an awful lot - used a bit less sugar, swapped in oil instead of butter (just to avoid using a saucepan to do the melting!) and I didn't want to buy buttermilk and have a load left over I wouldn't know how to use so I used milk and cream of tartar, which I already had, instead. Result - fruit and nut laden soft cakey goodness.
Pear and Walnut Cake (adapted from Joy the Baker)
  • Preheat oven to 350F/180C and grease and flour a suitable pan (9x5x3-inch loaf pan specified in original recipe; I used a shallow pan about 9x6 inch)
  • In a bowl mix together: 1 cup white flour; 3/4 cup wholemeal flour; 2/3 cup packed brown sugar (you might want to break this up first or you'll end up with little brown sugar pockets in your cake like I did); 1/2 tsp salt; 2 tsps baking powder; 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda; 2 tsps ground cinnamon and 1 tsp ground nutmeg.
  • In a larger bowl mix together: 2/3 cup milk, mixed with 1 tsp cream of tartar; 2 eggs; 1/3 cup sunflower oil; and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • Mix dry ingredients into wet (I know all recipes say to mix wet into dry; I guess it's something to do with how it mixes, but I always mix dry into wet, as it makes the washing up easier).
  • Add: 1 pear, grated; 1 pear, chopped into small dice; and 1/2 cup walnuts.
  • Spoon batter into pan and bake for 40-50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean
  • Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then on wire rack.

Joy recommends toasting and buttering, which it suits very well, although it's equally good as it is.

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