Monday, November 15, 2010

Glazed Pear & Walnut Cake

Adapted from a recipe on
Serves  8-10
Glazed Pear-Walnut Cake
For the cake:
butter, for greasing the cake pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp plus 1/8 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
1 cup plus 2 Tbl granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbl plus 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 pound Bosc pears (about 2 medium pears), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
For the glaze:
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups pear nectar
1 cup whipping cream
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle position.   Generously butter a 9-inch spring-form cake pan, then dust it with flour.  Set aside.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
In a separate small mixing bowl, toss the walnuts and crystallized ginger with 1/4 cup of the flour mixture.  Set aside. 
Using an electric stand mixer fitter with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, eggs, oil and vinegar on high until very thick, about 4 minutes.  Add the remaining flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  Add the diced pears and walnut-ginger mixture to the batter.  Mix by hand with a rubber spatula to combine. 
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.  Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour.
About half-way through the baking time, make the glaze:  Combine the sugar, pear nectar and cream in a small saucepot.  Place over high heat and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves.  Boil until thick, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. 
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack set over a wide sheet of parchment paper, wax paper or foil. Carefully run a sharp, thin knife along the sides of the cake, just against the pan, then gently remove the spring-form rim.  Spoon a half cup of the glaze (it should still be hot) over the cake (which should also still be hot), reserving the rest of the glaze for serving.  Let the cake cool completely. 
Slice the cake into wedges.  Re-warm the sauce over low heat.  Spoon the glaze over the cake slices and serve.  
The cake and glaze can be made one day ahead.  Cover the cake with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature.  Refrigerate the glaze in an airtight container. 
Pear-Walnut Cake