Pear & Almond Cake with Amaretto Caramel Sauce

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My toddler loves pears. Which is why I buy them by the sackfuls. Which is also why I always end up with a bunch of pears that ripen all at the same time. There’s only that many pears we can eat per day! There are oh so many elegant pear desserts I want to try but this particular bunch had gone too soft. Hence this cake.

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You can use bottom of the bowl, overripe pears and still have this cake turn out stellar! It’s a very simple, no fuss recipe. The only work involved is whipping butter and sugar and that only takes about 5 minutes.

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This recipe was originally measured out in grams. I have converted them to cup and tablespoon measures. I have included the weight measurements in italics if you prefer to go that route.

This recipe also mentions Self Rising Flour. You don’t have to rush out to the grocery store to buy a bag, or worse, abandon this project altogether! You just need all purpose flour, baking powder and salt and you can make your own batch of self rising flour. Recipe for that is given below.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • Peeled and roughly chopped pears – 3
  • Unsalted butter* – 1 cup (200 grams)
  • Granulated sugar – 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (125 grams + 1 tbsp)
  • Large eggs – 2
  • Self rising flour** – 1 cup minus 5 tbsp (100 grams)
  • Ground almonds or Almond meal – 1/2 cup plus 4 tbsp (80 grams)

*If using salted butter leave the salt out of the self rising flour recipe given below

**Self rising flour – Take 1 cup all purpose flour, add 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt. Whisk to combine. Measure and use as directed

For the caramel sauce

  • Salted butter* – 1/4 cup
  • Light brown sugar – 1 cup
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Amaretto extract – 2 tsp (optional)

*If using unsalted butter add 1/2 tsp of salt to your recipe

Method

The cake

  • Preheat oven to 375 F or 190 degree Celsius. Grease and flour a 9 inch circular cake pan. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature and the butter is softened
  • In a medium saucepan melt 2 tbsp of butter. Add 1 tbsp of sugar and stir till it melts. Add the peeled and chopped pears and simmer till they turn brown and the sauce thickens a little
  • In a large bowl add the remaining butter and sugar and whip together using a mixer till it turns light and fluffy. This will take 5 to 7 minutes
  • Add the eggs one by one and whip thoroughly after each addition
  • Add the flour to this mixture in three batches and combine on low speed just until incorporated
  • Add the ground almonds or almond meal and using a spatula stir it gently through the batter
  • Pour the batter into the cake pan. Level with a spatula. Arrange the cooked pears evenly over the surface of the cake. Pour some of the sauce from the saucepan over the cake
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes till the cake turns golden brown and a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean
  • Cool the cake in the pan set over a cooling rack. Once it is completely cooled remove from pan

The amaretto caramel

  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat
  • Add the sugar and cream and stir. The mixture will foam up quite a bit. Make sure you use a saucepan with tall sides
  • Let it cook for about 5 minutes stirring constantly
  • Add vanilla extract, amaretto and salt (if using) and stir
  • Let the sauce simmer on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes till it reaches the desired thickness. For this cake I prefer an unsalted, slightly thin caramel sauce that pours easily over the cake without clumping

Assembly

  • Place the cooled cake on a cake stand or plate. Pour the amaretto caramel sauce generously over the cake and garnish with additional chopped or slivered almonds

This cake can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 days. Anything longer than that, it will have to be stored in the refrigerator.

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Recipe adapted from Frugal Feeding

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Double Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Biscotti has always been popular. With me. I found it puzzling then, that I had not bothered to dedicate even a single post to the perfect coffee companion. The situation had to be remedied.

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I intend to bake a batch every few weeks in the name of recipe testing and if I’m able to hold on to them long enough to take a few pictures, I intend to blog about them too!

I was so excited with the way this batch turned out that I immediately invited a couple of friends over for a session of coffee and taste testing. Huge success!

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When, after downing a couple of biscottis each, they showed no signs of slowing down I grew alarmed. I had to snatch the tray out of their hands and escort them to the door. HA! That saved the day and this blog post.

It’s super simple. Just cream butter and sugar together, add the eggs and whip until fluffy.

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Add the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips and mix just until combined. Shape into a log and bake.

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 Cool and then slice the log.

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Bake again till done. Don’t let the double baking scare you. It’s easier than it looks.

Make it but don’t invite any friends over. At least not the first time.

Ingredients

  • Salted butter at room temperature – 6 tbsp (If using unsalted butter add 3/4 tsp salt to the dry ingredients)
  • Granulated sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Large eggs – 2
  • Vanilla extract – 1/4 tsp
  • Instant coffee powder or strong brewed coffee – 1 tsp
  • All purpose flour – 1 and 1/4 cup
  • Almond flour – 3/4 cup
  • Cocoa powder – 1/2 cup
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp
  • Semi sweet chocolate chips – 3/4 cup

Yield – 20 cookies

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 F or 175 degree Celsius
  • Cream butter and sugar together with a mixer until light and fluffy
  • Add the eggs in one at a time and whip well after each addition
  • Mix the instant coffee powder with a teaspoon of water and add it to the sugar-butter-egg mixture along with the vanilla. Whip briefly to combine
  • In a separate bowl add the all purpose flour, almond flour, cocoa powder and baking soda and combine with a fork or whisk
  • Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in three batches mixing well after each addition
  • Fold in the chocolate chips using a spatula
  • Line a cookie tray with parchment paper or foil or a silpat mat. Dump the dough onto the tray and shape it into a log approximately 12×4 inches
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes. The log will develop cracks on top and should be firm to the touch
  • Cool the log on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Carefully slice the log at an angle into 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick slices. You’ll get approximately 20 slices. It is okay if the insides are still a little soft
  • Transfer the slices back to the cookie sheet carefully. Place them cut side down in rows and bake in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake again for another 5 minutes until the slices are firm
  • Transfer them onto a cooling rack to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container

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Recipe adapted from the chocolate biscotti recipe at Chocolate Chocolate and More