Monday, September 7, 2015

Ginger Pear Cake

When I was in 9th grade, I had this math teacher who had us hand in our homework folded in half with our names and period number on the outside. I'm not sure if he just gave us credit for effort or if he ever actually looked at our work, but I usually got full points for whatever I turned in. Which really makes you wonder if he ever even looked at the stuff. Really.
There was a rumor going around that someone had turned in a sheet of paper that said only "You suck, Mr. Whittaker" and received full credit.

I think of that sometimes when I'm writing a recipe post with a pretty picture. Does it even really matter what I say here? Pretty picture. Scroll down to the recipe. Make. Eat. Happy face.

I think my work here is done.

What? No?

Okay. Fine.

This one is absolutely worth putting on your baking list this fall. Pumpkin and apple are not the only superstars!

This bread/cake/yumminess is the epitome of fall. It tastes like a crisp afternoon kicking around crunchy leaves as much as anything really can. It has a great hit of spice, and the lemon zest and glaze kick up the ginger flavor in such a nice way. (Though I've had it without the lemon and it is perfectly lovely still.) It also makes great loaves for giving away (or hoarding for yourself -- no judgment here), and is great with a lemon glaze, or sprinkled with turbinado sugar,  or without any such gilding of the lily. You could add half a cup of pecans and/or half a cup of dried cranberries to make it heartier, and you can also sub 1 cup of the flour for whole wheat pastry flour, if you're so inclined. And if you like it a little spicy, some chopped crystallized ginger wouldn't be a bad idea at all. Maybe a couple tablespoons to a quarter cup? I'm getting carried away, though, because this doesn't need any of that to command your full attention.

It makes a fantastic accompaniment to your favorite sweater and a cup of tea -- I like chamomile or lemon, or my favorite Passion tea.
Ah... fall. Welcome back, my dear, dear friend. I have missed you so!

Ginger Pear Cake


for cake
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. mashed pear -- about one medium pear (applesauce could also be substituted)
3 eggs
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ginger
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. chopped pears -- about 2 medium fresh pears, peeled and cored

for lemon glaze
juice of one lemon
1 tsp. vanilla
small pinch of salt
1 c. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and generously grease a standard 12 c. capacity bundt pan*. Set aside.
In one bowl, mix together the oil, mashed pear (or applesauce), eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
Add the sugar mixture to the flour mixture and fold together until almost thoroughly combined.
Add the chopped pears and fold gently until pears are evenly distributed and no streaks of dry flour remain. Pour and spread into prepared pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick tested in the center of the tube comes out cleanly.
Let cool in pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a cake plate or wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, mix together all ingredients for glaze in a small bowl. If you like a thicker glaze, add more powdered sugar until it reaches the consistency you like. The amounts included here will make a pretty thin glaze, which I like. When cake has cooled, drizzle with the glaze as desired.

*This recipe can also make two loaves of pear bread. Instead of using one bundt pan, grease two loaf pans and divide the batter evenly between them.
If desired, sprinkle the tops generously with turbinado sugar. Use about 2 Tbsp. to top each loaf. Begin checking for doneness at 55 minutes. Omit the glaze.

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