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Saturday, 6 July 2013

Dutch Pear Cake

I was recently flicking through the pages of Rachel Allen's BAKE and I came across her recipe for Dutch Apple Cake.  A family favourite she says.  Unfortunately I did not have any apples so I was about to turn the page when I noticed the footnote - variation: Raspberry and Pear.  Now I didn't have any raspberries but I did have some pears so I thought I would give this recipe a go and see what it turned out like.

The batter is very liquid and foamy.  Made in a strange way to normal cakes - maybe this is the Dutch part of the cake?  After whisking the eggs and sugar you pour in the melted butter and milk.  Then fold in the flour.  I ended up with a runny airy mix and wondered if it was suppose to be like that?  Rachel seems to say it is, there was no picture in the book, so I had to take her word.

This is truly one of the lightest gentlest sponge cake I have ever made.  I was surprised how the pears floating on top sunk to the bottom during cooking.  The house filled with the gentle scent of pear and orange.  On removing from the oven I noted the shiny cracked top, dusted with sugar, and the very bubbly sponge around the edges.  Removing was easy with the over hang from the parchment paper.  Served warm this cake is lovely.  Light orange scented sponge covering perfectly baked sweet pears.  I can see how this has become a family favourite in the Allen household.  The next day this cake became less crumbly and easier to handle.  

Warm or cold, served with coffee, this is a cake I will be making again.

Dutch Pear Cake
by Rachel Allen

2 eggs
175g caster sugar & 15g more for dusting later
1 tsp vanilla extract
85g butter
75ml milk
zest of orange
125g plain flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
2 ripe pears

20x20cm square cake tin

Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan).  Butter and over-line the tin.

Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the whisk. On high, whisk for 5 minutes until you get a pale thick mixture.  It will leave a trail on the whisk.  You can do this with a handheld mixer too, you just wont be able to do the next step...


While its whisking, peel the pears and slice in to half moons.  Zest the orange.  Or do all this after you have whisked with the handheld.


Melt the butter with the milk.  With the mixer on high, pour in the milk/butter mixture in a steady stream.  You will get a very liquid foamy mixture.


Add in the orange zest.

Sift in the flour and baking powder.  Fold in with a large spoon.  Do not over mix, but be careful of flour lumps, make sure you mix completely.

Pour in to the baking tin and arrange the pear slices on top.  They will start to sink in to the mix - this is normal.

Sprinkle the top with the 15g of caster sugar and put in the hot oven for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, reduce the temp to 180C (160C fan) and cook for a further 23 minutes.  It should be will risen and golden brown.


Allow to cool in the tin before lifting out with the hangover - expect it to crumble a little on top, this adds to the overall look.  Dust with icing sugar.

Serve warm with cream.  Or cold later.  Expect a light sponge with a soft/wet bottom.