For the caramelised pears
- 3 pears (preferably Conference)
- 2 cardamom pods (optional)
- 25g unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup HY025.
For the cake
- 150g unsalted butter, softened
- 75g buckwheat flour, sifted FG028.
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 75g finely ground almonds NU011.
- Good pinch of ground cinnamon
- 125g maple syrup HY025.
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Grease and flour a 22cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
- Start by preparing the caramelised pears. Peel, quarter and core the pears. Grind the seeds from the cardamom pods with a pestle and mortar.
- Heat a frying pan and add the ground cardamom seeds, butter and maple syrup. As soon as the mixture starts to melt and sizzle, arrange the quartered pears flat-side down in a circle with the thin ends meeting in the centre (this ensures the pears colour evenly and stay in good shape). Cook for 5–6 minutes on each side, then remove the pan from the heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until pale and fluffy with an electric hand mixer. Add 2–3 tablespoons of the flour and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Continue to beat until you have a light, fluffy mixture (if it looks as if it’s curdling, add another tablespoon of flour).
- Fold in the remaining flour, the ground almonds, cinnamon and maple syrup.
- Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top with the back of a spoon or a palette knife. Carefully place the pears on top of the mixture, arranged in a circle flat-side down, then drizzle any remaining pan juices over the top.
- Bake in the oven for 40–50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Serve this cake as a pudding with whipped cream. Because it is not too sweet, it is also great for elevenses or afternoon tea.
This delicious recipe is taken from the book ‘Love Bake Nourish’ by Amber Rose.
It’s a cookbook with a difference; rather than basing her cakes on a standard combination of sugar and white flour, Amber champions fresh fruit, ancient and alternative flour varieties and natural sweeteners like honey to bring depth of flavour and seasonality to her baking. The flavour of caramelised pears in this cake goes well with the nuttiness of buckwheat flour. It’s simple to make yet also very impressive-looking.