Today is your reward for all the amazing things you have done this January! Tomorrow we’ll be reflecting on that, but first of all today, I have a challenge for you to test your baking skills and make you feel like an accomplished domestic goddess in the kitchen. Every January I bake a cake of Pete’s choice from any of our recipe books for his birthday, so it’s kind of a tradition to attempt something new and impressive… I’m so glad he didn’t see this before making this year’s choice 😉
Thank you so much to Asma from Sugared Saffron for sending in this stunning creation – I think it would be a seriously impressive gift or centrepiece on a dessert table or for afternoon tea. Do let her know in the comments box if you have any questions!
- Add a teaspoon of cinnamon and all spice for an extra wintery flavour
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the caramel for a Salted Caramel layer
- To save time, bake the cake the day before. The pear means it’s extra moist so just make sure you’ve wrapped it in cling film and leave it at room temperature.
Ingredients for the Pear and Vanilla bean cake:
170g Unsalted butter (room temp)
170g Caster sugar
1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract or the seeds of half a vanilla bean
3 Large eggs
170g Self raising flour
6 firm pears, peeled, cored and chopped into cubes.
1/2 a firm pear.
For the caramel layer:
100g caster sugar
100ml double cream
1 tablespoon of butter
75ml Chantilly cream. That’s just whipped cream, flavoured with vanilla and sweetened with a teaspoon of icing sugar.
- Prepare a 7″ baking tin by greasing and lining with baking paper. Pre-heat the oven to 180 °C
- Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
- Add the eggs to the creamed mixture one at a time, make sure they are completely combined before adding the next. If the mixture is curdling, add a tablespoon of the measured flour to it.
- Mix in the flour.
- Fold in the chopped pears until they are evenly distributed in the mixture.
- Spoon the cake mixture into the tin and bake for 40-45 minutes. This part depends very much on your oven so check after 30 minutes but pressing the cake and testing with a toothpick. If it comes out clean and the cake springs back after being pressed, then it’s done.
- In a heavy pan (not non-stick) place the sugar and pour over enough water to just cover the sugar. Heat on a medium-high heat and wait until the mixture dissolves and becomes amber at the edges.
- Swirl the pan and keep on the heat until the amber colour is uniform, this will only take a few seconds so be quick.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the cream, mix until it’s combined nicely.
- Return the pan to the heat for a couple more minutes until the caramel thickens and changes colour.
- Remove from the heat and add the butter. Let it cool down for a minute and pour over the top of the cake.
- Whilst the caramel is setting, take your half pear and place in a hot non-stick frying pan to caramelise at the edges and surface.
- Once the caramel is set and the pear is cooled, dollop on some of the Chantilly cream.
- Add the spun sugar and pear at the very last minute before serving.
Recipe and Photography courtesy of Asma Hassan, (Baking Ninja) Sugared Saffron