Saturday, May 30, 2009
Sticky ginger and pear cake
I enjoy making cakes just because I want to make them. It doesn't have to be a special occasion, there doesn't have to be anyone coming over for tea - I just like baking cakes. When I see a recipe for a cake with flavours or an appearance that takes my fancy, I just make it - it gives me great pleasure, and it would often be a long wait between cakes if I had to wait for some reason to make them.
When I spied a recipe for Sticky Ginger and Pear Cake by Karen Martini in Sunday Life magazine a couple of weeks ago, I knew I had to make it. The ginger and pear flavours appealed to me, and the glossy photo which accompanied the recipe drew me in immediately.
Unfortunately, I was not particularly careful when checking on the ingredients that I needed. Sure, I dutifully bought some sour cream, pears and glace ginger. However, I overlooked the fact that I didn't have enough brown sugar or any fresh ginger, semolina or golden syrup until the time came for me to make the cake. I also failed to notice that my loaf tin was 10cm shorter than the required size. Oops! As it was late on a school night when I made this, there was no way that I was going to venture to the shops, so I just improvised and hoped for the best.
Thankfully, my improvisations did not stop me from ending up with a gorgeous, glowing, tasty cake. The cake has a delicious, gooey brown sugar and butter top in which the pear and glace ginger are embedded, and beneath, the cake is a dense, tasty gingerbread-style cake. Because my loaf tin was not big enough to take the entirety of the batter, I used the remainder to make 8 mini loaves with topping, which were also delicious.
If you are as smitten with the apperance and sound of this cake as I was, you will need the following to make it (with my adaptations):
110g brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
125g sliced glace ginger
2 peeled and diced pears (I used William pears)
170g sour cream
280g melted butter
grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
90g plain flour
170g self raising flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and grease a 30cm x 12cm loaf tin and line with baking paper.
For the topping, melt the butter over the stovetop or in the microwave, then combine it in a small saucepan with the bwon sugar and salt. Stir over a low to medium heat until all of the components are combined to form a thick syrup. Pour the sugar mixture into the loaf tin, and arrange the pears and ginger over it.
For the cake, in a large bowl, whisk together the golden syrup, sour cream, brown sugar and eggs. Whisk in the melted butter, then stir through the lemon zest.
Sift the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, then fold through the wet ingredients. Pour the cake batter over the pear and ginger mixture in the loaf tin, and tap the tin to remove air bubbles.
Bake the cake in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes or until baked through. (My cake in a 20cm x 12cm loaf tin only took 35 minutes.) I recommend placing a baking tray underneath it to catch any syrup that bubbles up from beneath the cake while it it baking.
Remove the baked cake from the oven, and allow it to cool in the tin on a wire rack. When you are ready to serve it, invert the cake onto a cake plate, with the pear and ginger topping uppermost. Enjoy!