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    Pear, almond & white chocolate cake

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    Pear, almond & white chocolate cake

    By Nic Sharma

     

    Ginger gives this pear cake warmth, the almonds provide crunch and the white chocolate creates a silky, sweet finish.

    • Vegetarian
    • Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus cooling
    • Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes, plus cooling

    Serves: 12

    Ingredients

    165g unsalted butter, diced and chilled, plus extra for greasing
    280g plain flour
    1 tbsp ground ginger
    2 tsp baking powder
    ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
    ¼ tsp fine sea salt
    2 ripe but firm pears (about 150g each), cored, halved and cut into thin slices lengthways
    200g light brown soft sugar, plus 2 tbsp
    4 large eggs, at room temperature
    ½ tsp almond extract
    50g flaked almonds
    100g white chocolate

    Method

    1. Grease a deep, round 20cm cake tin with a little butter and line the base and sides with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4. Sift the flour, ginger, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together into a large bowl or over a sheet of baking parchment. Take 4 tbsp of this mixture and sprinkle it over both sides of the sliced pears.

    2. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer with a paddle attachment (or using electric beaters), beat the butter with 200g sugar at medium speed until pale and creamy (about 3 minutes). Beat in the eggs one at a time, on medium speed, until fully incorporated. Add the almond extract and beat for 30 seconds. Add half the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined (about 1 minute). Add the remaining flour mixture and beat for about 1 minute. 

    3. Transfer ¼ of the batter to the prepared tin and use a rubber spatula to spread it out evenly. Cover the surface with ¹⁄³ of the pears. Repeat the layers of batter and pears, finishing with the final ¼ of the batter. Toss the almonds with the remaining 2 tbsp sugar and scatter over the top of the cake. Bake for 1 hour-1 hour 10 minutes, rotating the tin after 45 minutes, until golden brown, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

    4. Once the cake has cooled, melt the white chocolate in a small bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Once melted, drizzle over the cake in a criss-cross manner, using a large spoon. Allow to set before serving. This cake will keep for up to 4 days if stored in the fridge in an airtight container.

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