I've come home to two new cafes in my local town - one of which, The Buttercross has a very tempting cake display including an assortment of chocolate cakes, crunchy lemon drizzle, seasonal creations and one of my favourites- a tasty banana bread. They serve theirs with ricotta and a caramel sauce- something I hadn't considered before but just knew I had to try my own version.
This cake is not overly sweet but has a great crunchy texture with lots of walnut pieces throughout. The roasted half pears are a delicious surprise when you bite into the cake and provide a great fruity contrast.
Served still warm with a spoonful of ricotta cheese and some salted caramel sauce, it's a divine treat with a cup of tea!
For the cake:
260g plain flour
55g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
225g caster sugar
85g light brown muscovado sugar
120ml sunflower oil (any vegetable oil)
2-4 medium sized ripe pears
For the salted caramel sauce:
200g caster sugar
90g salted butter
120ml double cream
1 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C(fan.)
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the plain flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda and spices.
Chop the walnuts into small pieces on a chopping board and then add the walnuts to the bowl. Stir thoroughly.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs and both sugars together with an electric whisk until you have a pale and thick mixture. Add in the buttermilk and oil and beat again until mixed.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a metal spoon until fully incorporated into the mixture. Spoon the mixture into a greased and lined round and deep cake tin.
Wash the pears and then cut them in half. Use a small scoop to take out the pips and then arrange the pear halves in the cake batter with the tops just sticking out.
Bake the cake in the preheat oven for around 55-70 minutes until a skewer, when inserted into the middle of the cake, comes out clean. You may want to cover the cake with tin foil half way through baking to stop the top from burning.
To make the salted caramel sauce to accompany the cake: (recipe taken from http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/homemade-salted-caramel-recipe/)
Heat the sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat. Don't stir the sugar but let it melt, shaking the pan a little to spread it out evenly if you need to. When the sugar has all melted and turned into a brown-amber coloured liquid (don't let it burn), add in the butter.
Stir quickly until the butter melts into the caramelised sugar. Be careful as the caramel will bubble when the butter is added.
Then drizzle in the double cream and continue to stir. The mixture will bubble rapidly here and start to boil but continue stirring over the heat for about one minute until you have a smooth caramel sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt.
Serve the cake with some ricotta and a drizzle of the salted caramel sauce.
Adapted from: http://www.bakersroyale.com/cakes/pear-walnut-cake/