This Ginger and Pear Cake brings together two flavours that are the best of friends. The spicy heat of ginger is the perfect counterpoint to the luscious sweetness of the pear. The syrup from the jar of stem ginger adds an additional hit of sugar which brings the flavours together and ensures that the cake is moist.
Another aspect of this cake which I really like is that it includes a secret pear! A whole fresh pear is added to the cake mix just before baking and ends up embedded in the cake. You don’t know about it until you cut into the cake. There is something really appealing to me, both in terms of flavour and texture, and also as it is a nice surprise, in including the pear in this way.
I was won over to stem ginger relatively recently. I have childhood memories of my parents being given jars of it at Christmas which sat in the cupboard until well past their use by date as no one really knew what to do with it! Years later, I saw a jar in the supermarket and made an impulse buy and decided to try and use it in a cake. The result was fantastic, with the stem ginger giving a complex gingery flavour unlike that provided by ground ginger. A few bakes later, I decided to add pear into the mix and this recipe is the result.
This sticky Ginger and Pear Cake brings together two flavours that are best friends! Using stem ginger brings a complexity of flavour and luscious moistness to this easy cake recipe.
125 g butter
175 g caster sugar
175 g self-raising flour
3 pieces of stem ginger
4 tablespoons syrup from a jar of stem ginger
1 large, ripe pear
1 piece of stem ginger
1 tablespoon of syrup from a jar of stem ginger
Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.
Grease a 450 g loaf tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
Cream the butter with the sugar in a large bowl. (I usually soften the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave first as it makes it much easier!)
Gradually add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture. If it looks as if it is going to curdle, add some of the self-raising flour.
Once the eggs have been incorporated add the rest of the self-raising flour.
Finely chop your pieces of stem ginger and add them to the cake mixture along with the syrup from the jar of stem ginger.
Spoon the cake mixture into your prepared loaf tin.
Take the skin off your pear. I find the easiest way to do this is with a vegetable peeler. Cut the pear in half lengthwise and, using a small knife, remove the core and any pips. Place the two halves of the pear on top of the cake mixture.
Put the tin in the oven and bake the cake for 45 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.
When the cake is cool, remove it from the tin.
To decorate the cake, using a pastry brush, paint the top with the ginger syrup. Cut up the piece of stem ginger and scatter the pieces over the top of the cake.
Keywords: cake, ginger, pear
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This recipe for Easy Poached Pears is a fantastic make-ahead autumn or winter dessert. The cooking time is quite long but the preparation time is very short and extremely simple – basically you just need to peel the pears!
There is something very autumnal about pears. I love eating them just as they are. However, it is often quite difficult to get them at just the right stage of ripeness – one day they are hard and unripe and the next day they are soft and squishy! The beauty of cooking with pears is that you do not need to use ripe ones. This recipe is best made with unripe pears which then become beautifully soft and fragranced with Marsala wine, cinnamon and vanilla, during the cooking process.
Marsala is a fortified Italian wine which is generally widely available. If you do not have any Marsala wine, you could use red wine, port, cider or perry (pear cider) as alteratives.
The recipe is based on Delia Smith’s Pears Baked in Marsala Wine but I cook the pears for a shorter time and do not add arrowroot to thicken the sauce as I prefer it to be thinner.
Easy Poached Pears is a make-ahead autumnal recipe which transforms unripe pears into a sumptuous dessert through slow cooking them with Marsala Wine, cinnamon and vanilla.
6 unripe pears
600 ml Marsala
75 g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (or a vanilla pod)
Set your oven to 250 F/130 C/Gas Mark 0.5.
Remove the skins from the pears using a vegetable peeler. Take a thin slice of the base of each pear. This will give it a flat bottom so that it will stand up on the plate when it has been cooked.
Put the Marsala, sugar, cinnamon stick and vanilla essence into a heavy casserole. Heat until the liquid is simmering and the sugar has dissolved.
Place the pears in the casserole on their sides. Put the lid on the casserole and place in the oven.
Bake for 1 hour and then turn the pears so that their other side is in the liquid. Bake for a further 1 hour.
Remove the pears from the liquid and set aside in a dish to cool.
Place the casserole containing the liquid on the top of the stove and boil rapidly with the lid off for around 10 minutes. The liquid will reduce by about one third.
Place both the pears and the liquid separately in the fridge to chill. When you are ready to serve, place the pears on individual plates and pour some of the liquid over them. Good accompaniments are whipped cream or a mixture of half whipped cream and half mascarpone or vanilla ice cream.
This is a vegan recipe and can be served with non-dairy cream or ice-cream.
If you don’t have Marsala Wine, you can use red wine, port, cider or perry (pear cider) as alternatives.