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Nigel Slater: I often poach the fruit, halved and cored, in a light sugar syrup with some liquid from a jar of preserved ginger and eat them with yogurt and toasted oats. Breakfast of champions, that. The pears should lie at the base of the cake. Makes 16 pieces



Ingredients:-

    For the pears:

    • 500g pears, peeled, cored
    • 30g diced butter plus 1 tablespoon agave or golden syrup

    For the cake:

    • 250g self-raising flour
    • 2 level teaspoons ground ginger
    • Half teaspoon mixed spice
    • Half teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    • a pinch of salt
    • 200ml agave or golden syrup
    • 125g butter
    • 125g dark muscovado
    • 2 large eggs
    • 240ml milk

    For the icing:

    • 250g icing sugar
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 3 knobs preserved ginger in syrup
    • 1 tablespoon Demerara or golden sugar crystals
    • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

    Also needed

    • You will need a square cake tin measuring approximately 22cm

    Method:-

    • Peel, halve and core the pears, then cut them into 2cm dice.
    • Warm the butter in a shallow, nonstick pan, then add the pears and leave to cook for 10 minutes over a low to moderate heat, until they are pale gold and translucent.
    • Towards the end of their cooking time, add the spoonful of agave or golden syrup.
    • Remove from the heat and set aside.
    • Line the base and sides of the cake tin with baking parchment.
    • Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4.
    • Sift the flour with the ground ginger, mixed spice, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
    • Pour the syrup into a small saucepan, add the butter and the muscovado and warm over a moderate heat until the butter has melted.
    • When the mixture has simmered for a minute remove from the heat.
    • Break the eggs into a bowl, add the milk and beat lightly to combine.
    • Pour the butter and syrup mixture into the flour and spices and stir gently until no flour is visible.
    • Mix in the milk and eggs.
    • Fold in the cooked pears and scrape the mixture into the lined cake tin.
    • The pears should sink to the bottom.
    • Slide the cake into the oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes, until it is lightly puffed and spongy to the touch.
    • Leave to cool in the tin.
    • To make the icing, put the icing sugar into a bowl, then beat in the lemon juice, either with a fork or using a small hand whisk.
    • Take it steady, only using enough to make an icing thick enough that it takes a while to fall from the spoon.
    • Remove the cake from its tin and peel back the parchment.
    • Cut the cake into 16 equal pieces and place them on a cooling rack set over a tray.
    • Trickle the icing over the cakes, letting a little run down the sides of each.
    • When the icing is almost set, add a slice of crystallised ginger and a scattering of sugar crystals and poppy seeds.

    Category: Cakes
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