A stunning cake for a gathering. Whole cinnamon scented poached pears, studded in a moist dense vanilla cake. Delicious served warm with a dollop of double cream. Makes 8
125ml (½ cup) water
50g (¼ cup) caster sugar
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
6 whole small or 4 medium whole pears, approx. 100g (such as Beurre Bosc, Howell, Honey varieties or Nashi)
175g butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup (250g) caster sugar
½ cup (75g) brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 ¼ cups (225g) self-raising flour
⅓ cup (40g) desiccated coconut
icing sugar, for dusting
Place the water, sugar and cinnamon into a medium sized saucepan. Bring to the boil. Add the pears, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until just tender. Remove pears from syrup and set pears aside to cool. Discard syrup.
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan forced). Grease and line the base of a 26cm spring form pan with baking paper.
Attach the flat beater to the stand mixer and the pouring shield (if available) to a 4.8L mixing bowl. Add the butter and sugars to the bowl, beat on speed 2 until just combined, increase to speed 6 and beat for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy, scrapping down the sides of the bowl occasionally with a spatula.
Reduce to speed 2, add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between each addition. Add the flour, coconut and milk and continue beating until mixture is just combined. Increase to speed 6 and beat for a further 3 minutes.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the pears evenly around the pan (you may need 6 or 8 pears, depending on size). Bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 30 minutes. Cover the pan with a sheet of greased aluminium foil, secure the sides tightly and bake a further 35 – 40 minutes or until the cake is firm when tested. Uncover and cool for 10 minutes before removing the cake from the pan. Cool completely and dust with icing sugar.
- Any small pear is suitable such as Corella. Smaller Beurre Bosc pears can also be used but will stick further out of the cake batter.
- Take care when covering the cake with the foil not to tear the foil with the pear stems. The covering is to create a steam bath effect and ensures the cake will cook evenly.
- Don't worry if the pears discolour on the base during the poaching.