Thursday, April 29, 2010
The heady nutmeg, invigorating ginger and fragrant cinnamon mingle with the sugar-spiced treacle urging me to inhale deeply as they flush my cheeks with their passionate scent.
I twirl my whisk to the sounds of a Parisian street accordion and classical strings, as the warmly whimsical La Valse D'Amelie dances across the walls and flows through my fingertips.
For me, the joy of baking is immense and nourishing; it's sunshine for my spirit.
Ginger and pear cake with caramel and clotted cream
from the April 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
225 gm softened butter
250 gm dark brown sugar
3 beurre Bosc pears, cut into 8 wedges, core removed
450 gm plain flour, sieved
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp ground ginger
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp finely grated nutmeg
370 gm treacle
250 ml buttermilk
80 ml pouring cream
To serve: clotted cream
Preheat oven to 160C. Melt 100gm butter in a large frying pan over medium heat, scatter in half the sugar and stir until dissolved (3-5 minutes). Add pears and turn occasionally until golden and just cooked through (10-12 minutes). Remove pears with a slotted spoon, arrange in base of a 22cm-diameter cake tin lined with baking paper, set aside. Reserve remaining liquid in frying pan.
Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a bowl and set aside. Beat remaining butter and remaining sugar in an electric mixer until pale and creamy (3-5 minutes). Add treacle, then eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition to combine. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture, in thirds, alternating with buttermilk, finishing with flour, until just combined. Pour over pears, bake until golden and an inserted skewer withdraws clean (1 hour 10 minutes-1 hour 20 minutes (mine cooked in 50mins). Cool in tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes, turn onto serving plate and cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, heat reserved pan juices over medium heat, whisk in pouring cream until combined. Serve with ginger and pear cake and clotted cream, if desired. Cake will keep, stored in an airtight container at room temperature, for 2 days.
prep time: 30mins.
cooking time: 50mins and 10mins resting (I cooked mine for 55mins and it was a touch overdone_.
total: 1hour & 35mins.
taste: 5/5. The first word out of everyone's mouth was an astounded 'OMG'. I kid you not.
Now, I'm not saying this cake is unattractive, but it is a little homely with its 'shades-of-brown' ensemble, so you can't blame us for underestimating its deliciousness. I should have known better just by looking at the spice selection alone that this cake was going to be awesome.
I can't even try to put it's yumminess into eloquent words because it was just so damn perfect for a cold, rainy evening that it needs no embellishment. It satisfied every single one of us just the right amount - no aching bellies or remorseful sugar rushes; just plain dessert excellence. I forgot the decadent clotted cream the first night but we didn't even notice its absence, we had already pledged our devotion to the cake - the spicy, moist, sweet, soft, sticky, delectable and covetable cake...
We had ours still warm from the oven.
would I make it again: OMG Yes - cold, rainy nights just won't be the same without it :(