When I saw this recipe for pear and earl grey tea cake online I knew I had to make it (a) because I love pear cakes and (b) I am intrigued by the use of tea in cooking. You may remember my tea-inspired dinner party during Project Food Blog. The pears are poached in some earl grey tea before they are baked with the cake, which adds a hint of flavour to them. The cake itself is "coffee cake" like and obviously great with a hot drink.
(Do you notice my new cake stand? I have been looking everywhere for a decent one and found this neat vintage looking one for $10 at HomeSense.)
Pear and Earl Grey Cake (measurements were converted from original recipe)6 cups of water
Earl Grey Poached Pears
1/2 cup sugar
1 strip lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tbsp earl grey tea leaves
6 pears, peeled, not cored
Directions:Combine water, sugar, tea leaves, lemon, and vanilla in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes to infuse the flavours. Strain the mixture and pour it back into the pot. Peel the pears, but do not core them. Place them whole in the liquid. Simmer again for about 15 minutes until the pears are soft. Take them off the heat and let cool. When cooled, slice and core the pears into quarters or small slices.
Cake:3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup plain yoghurt (can substitute sour cream for a heavier cake)
1 1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
Directions:Preheat oven to 320 degrees F. Beat butter and sugars using a hand mixer. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each. Add yoghurt, then slowly add flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
Grease a bundt or square pan. If using a bundt pan, add the topping in first, then half of the batter. If using a square pan, add the first layer of batter. Arrange the pear slices in the batter. Pour the remaining batter on top to cover up the pears.
All six of the pears seemed like a lot, so I stored the rest in the poaching syrup to use for another batch of cake or dessert.
Crumble topping1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup chopped nuts (can be pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts)
Directions:Combine topping ingredients and chop up butter until a coarse crumble forms. Sprinkle on top of batter. Bake cake for 50 minutes to one hour.
Sometimes I crave a light, fruit dessert instead of something heavy with a lot of chocolate. This cake reminded me how great pears work in dessert and brought me back to my childhood.