Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gingered Fresh Pear Cake

I love bundt cakes. I really do. There's just something about them that makes me feel all warm and happy inside. Sure, they aren't as elegant as a layer cake, but bundt cakes remind me of church in the South and potluck suppers.

My best friend Abby and her boyfriend John came to town last week for a conference, and they stayed with Joe and me. Abby left behind four pears that were starting to get pretty sad looking. I couldn't bear to throw away good fruit, but I also knew that neither Joe nor I would eat them plain, so I figured baking with pears would be the perfect way to use them up. I started looking up recipes and found this one: a pear bundt cake that used ingredients I already had and with a slight exotic twist. Perfect!

I was a little worried that the batter was so runny, but the cake set perfectly. The crispy outside gives way to an incredibly moist inside, and the ginger flavor is not overpowering but just right. For serving this to guests, the whipped cream or fruit compote suggestion is good, but I think just a sprinkle of powdered sugar would be enough to gussy it up.

Gingered Fresh Pear Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups pureed pears, about 4 to 5 medium ripe pears
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup naturally sweetened applesauce
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 350°.

Butter and generously flour a Bundt pan. Puree pears in a food processor. In a small bowl mix the pureed pears, vanilla, lemon juice, cinnamon, and ground ginger. Set aside. Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan until butter is melted. Sift flour and baking powder.

With an electric mixer on medium-high, beat the eggs and brown sugar for 5 minutes, until pale and thick. Add milk and melted butter mixture while beating on low, then add the pear mixture and applesauce. Add the flour and baking powder, beating until just combined.

Pour batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for about 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream or warm fruit compote.