I’ve spoken to you about my disdain for Mother Nature’s furry freaks in the prior post, Nan’s Applesauce. Let’s just say that them furry bastards and me ain’t friends no more.
Our apple and Asian pear trees are stripped of limbs and our neighbor’s actually looks like someone snapped the tree in half.
Like I said, furry war is on.
What is an Asian Pear, you ask? Looks like an apple in shape, with a pear skin. Tastes like a apple-pear blend.
In short, yummy.
When we first starting growing Asian Pears, I figured I could just make pear jam.
No. No you cannot. Don’t try, unless you want to waste you time and have dental work done.
Asian pears have a different acidity than a regular pear which make them somewhat unsuitable for canning in the same jam-like way other pears can be canned [say that 5 times real fast]. Not until I opened a jar of my Asian pear jam and bit into something crystallized that was akin to a chunk of glass did I learn this. I thought I’d broken a tooth.
There are recipes for Asian pear jam out there. I just stopped trying after a few fails – the recipes aren’t totally simple, and require things like calcium water. Huh?
Amen and ha-lle-frickin’-ujah.
But, if I had a crop of Asian pears this year, this is the cake I’d make half a dozen of and freeze; it’s one of those old-fashioned cakes that freezes well, and when you have people call at 4pm and say, “Hey, whatcha doin? I’m coming over,” it’s the cake you can easily pull out of the freezer and have for your newly appointed dinner guests.
My husband’s family is notorious for these last minute dinner drop ins.
Since Mother’s Nature’s furry rats have decimated my crop this season, I had to resort to Whole Foods Market for Asian Pears. I may have to make another trip to get more so I can freeze a few of these cakes.
This cake is somewhat humble, as its roots are in a basic spice cake, but it’s a spice cake that’s been amped up a multiple notches.
I want you to think spice cake with an elegant twist of orange and Asian Pear.
I want you to just make this cake because it’s do gorgeous and simple and stunning. It needs nothing outside of a sprinkle of powdered sugar it’s so elegant.
Asian Pear Cake
This layered cake is a perfect cake for either brunch or dessert. It has an aesthetic that will wow your guests and emphasize this beautiful food.
- 2 oranges
- 2 1/4 cups white sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup canola oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. all spice powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 3 asian pears
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Slice the pears. What you’re looking for are simple slices, just as you would slice an apple. However, pears have a smaller core than apples so you’re likely to get more yield from the fruit. Set aside.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the eggs until they’ve lost their orange color and have become a bit paler, about 1 min.
Add to the mix the juice of two oranges and the zest from one and whisk lightly.
Now add the flour, spice mix, baking powder, sugar, vanilla and salt and mix completely.
Once those ingredients are incorporated, slowly add the oil as you mix the batter. The result will be rather thick, sticky, and perfect for what is next.
Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. How? Grease the pan, then add about a tablespoon of flour to the pan’s base, then move and shake the pan until the flour has made a nice thin coat that covers the pan’s entire interior. Do this over the sink to save your self the mess. Dump out any excess flour.
Now begin to layer your cake. Take about a third of the batter mixture and lay down a nice coating on the bottom of the pan. This will actually be your top, so you want to make sure you’ve made a thick layer all the way around the base of the pan.
Lay pear slices on top of your batter layer. Add another layer of batter and another layer of pear slices. You should get between 2-3 layers of pears. The final layer should be batter.
Place your pan in the oven and bake for approximately 90 min. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick in the middle and remove it. It should come out clean when the cake is done.
Remove finished cake from the oven and leave it in its pan for at least 30 min. on a rack or other tray. Once sufficiently cool, you can turn it out onto a plate or simply leave it in its pan and cut slices from it. In either case, be sure to work slowly. The cake has a dense construction and those apples don’t help, so it will be more delicate then a Bundt cake or the like.
Sprinkle slices with confectioners sugar and enjoy!
You can make this in a larger bundt pan. Just spray the pan well!
There is no need to peel the pears.
I chop one pear into small (about 1 1/2" - 2") cubes and integrate it into the batter before the batter goes into the tube pan. When I first made this cake, I realized 3 pears weren't going to fit into the cake just as slices. The next time I made the cake I chopped one the pears, incorporated it into the batter, and then layered the other 2 pears into the batter as noted in the recipe. This allows the pear to be omnipresent in the cake vs. just random slices.
You could swap out 1/4 cup of the oil for yogurt, if desired.