Pear, Cardamom & Sultana cake
At this time of year the shops are full of plums, apples and pears. I don't eat many of them off season as they tend to taste of nothing, but come September and October when the British varieties are being harvested they are packed full of flavour and I love buying them. Pears are a particular favourite but usually difficult to find nice ones as they always seem to be rock hard and take weeks to ripen. I really like to bake with them and last year I made Pear, Hazelnut & Chocolate cake and a Pear & Cinnamon Cake, both turning out to be real winners in my household. This cake I've made today is an utter delight - moist and light as well as giving an amazing warming sensation in the back of the throat from the cardamom. It's the perfect bake for an autumn weekend and it would be really lovely for pudding served with a little cream. I used beautiful blush pears for this cake and they really pack in the flavour. It's a little rustic looking, but often the best food is. Enjoy. x
125g unsalted butter, room temperature
125g light, soft brown sugar
2 medium free-range sized eggs
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp cardamom pods, crushed
4 tbsp milk
3 large pears, cored, peeled and thinly sliced
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin ( I use loaf tin liners so I skip this part, they make life so much easier!)
Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. (If it starts to curdle add a little of the flour).
Sift the flour and the cardamom into the mixture.
Add the milk and fold in gently.
Reserve about a third of the pear slices and set aside. Roughly chop the rest of the pears and add to the mixture.
Add the sultanas and once more fold in gently.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and smooth the top.
Layer the pear slices on the top of the cake and push down gently into the mixture.
Bake in the oven for about 1 and a half hours but check after an hour and a quarter (I put a piece of tin foil over the top of mine to stop it from burning). The cake should be golden brown on the top and a skewer should come out nice and clean.