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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Caramel Sauce

I love a good dessert sauce. It adds a generous dose of glamour and oomph to even the most mundane of desserts. But as far as caramel sauce is concerned I’ve been sitting firmly on the fence for a long time. And I refuse to budge. I have to concede, however, that it is not always the adulterant I’d like to think it is. I may not like it on my ice-cream or in my coffee but it does pair very well with popcorn, apples or dark chocolate.

But have I ever tried making it at home? Nah! ‘It’s not worth the effort’, I kept telling myself. That’s until I came face to face with this recipe. It’s pure gold! image

I tried to drink it straight out of the jar. It was only when husband reminded me that I wasn’t pregnant anymore and that drinking dessert sauces neat wasn’t going to do my waistline any good, did better sense prevail. It’s THAT good!

For this basic sauce you need just three ingredients – Sugar, Butter and Cream. It’s super simple.

Follow the pictures below for a step by step visual guide. You’ll be done in 15 minutes.

Ingredients

  • Granulated sugar – 1 cup
  • Salted butter – 6 tbs (chopped into cubes)
  • Cream – 1/2 cup

Method

In a saucepan with tall sides, heat granulated sugar on medium heat, stirring constantly with a silicon or wooden spatula.

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The sugar will get clumpy before it melts into a thick golden coloured liquid. Keep stirring. Make sure not to burn the sugar. Reduce heat if required.

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Once melted, add in all the butter. The sugar will bubble up. This is where the tall sides of the pan come to your rescue. Keep stirring till the butter melts entirely.

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Slowly drizzle in the cream while stirring. This too will cause the caramel to bubble up and splatter. And yes…..continue to stir

image Allow the caramel to boil for a minute. After this stage, you can take your caramel off the heat and allow it to cool.

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If you’d like a thicker caramel which just a faint hint of bitterness to it….keep stirring on a low flame till it reaches the desired consistency. Remember, caramel will thicken further once it is cooled. Pour the caramel sauce into a jar with a tight lid and store it in the refrigerator. It lasts for up to 10 days. Reheat in the microwave, in short 5 second bursts before using.

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