Friday, December 08, 2006

Pear Bundt Cake

Speaking as someone who chronically does this, pears are an underutilized fruit when it comes to baking and dessert. This is a shame because they have great flavor, work well with a variety of spices and are easy to bake because they already have a soft texture and you don't have to worry about undercooking them (it can occasionally be a problem with apples, which is why many apple muffin recipes call for them to be shredded, or finely diced).
This is a pear bundt cake, relatively low in fat and made with pear sauce, which I found at Trader Joe's. Applesauce can easily be used instead without sacrificing anything in terms of flavor. The cake has a tender, but firm, crumb of the kind that is ideal for pairing with coffee or tea, when you want to pick up the slice of cake and eat it with your fingers, rather than delicately nibbling off a plate. The pieces of pear are wonderfully moist and blend in with the cake well. You would never know that it was low in fat.

Tempted? I hope so, because I loved the way this cake turned out. Unfortunately, I spilled coffee all over my notes for the recipe and can no longer make out my final version. I'm going to go back through my notes and piece it together again, but I couldn't resist putting the photo up now. I'll bake another cake, if I must (not a big sacrifice, I assure you), to get it right again.

Update: Here is the recipe:

Pear Bundt Cake
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1/2 cup pear sauce (unsweetened apple sauce is fine)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk
1 1/2 - 2 cups peeled, diced pear (1 large or 2 small)

Preheat over to 350F. Grease a 10-inch bundt pan well, brushing it with melted butter or nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. It will look sandy when well-combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by pear/apple sauce and vanilla extract.
Working in two or three additions, alternately add flour mixture and milk to the sugar mixture. Stir only until just combined, then gently stir in the diced pears.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 60 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean and the cake springs back when gently pressed.
Let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Serves 12.