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Mother's Day Italian Pear Almond Cake

With pears on special just in time for Mothers Day- here is an elegant, whole-foods based cake made with fresh pears nestled in a lightly sweet and moist almond cake.

This lovely pear cake is not your typical cake with pears in it. It's pears with some cake in it. Drawing it's sweetness from the pears, it is classically Italian. 3 pears are peeled, halved and are placed on top of a thick batter which is flavoured by almond meal. As it bakes, the pears sink in to the cake, just barely peeking out the top by the time it's fully cooked.

Not too sweet, yet nice and light, this cake is delicious for Mother's Day morning tea or serve with a dollop of ice cream for a decadent after dinner dessert. The recipe works equally well with gluten and gluten free flours.

What you need:

  • 125 g butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature. If using unsalted, add a small pinch of salt to the batter

  • 125 g sugar of choice

  • 2 eggs

  • 50 g all purpose flour of choice

  • 100 g (by weight) almond meal or finely ground almonds

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 3 medium pears, ripe, but still firm, peeled, cored and halved lengthwise

  • 50 g flaked almonds

  • Icing sugar, whip cream or ice cream for garnish

What to do:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

  2. Grease an 8-inch springform pan and line the bottom with baking paper. Set aside.

  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and white sugar together at medium speed until pale in colour and fluffy.

  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl between eggs. With the mixer on low, mix in the flour, almond meal and baking powder. Spoon the batter into the prepared springform pan and use a spatula to even out the mixture. (Batter will be thick and fill the pan to about 2 cm or a bit less if using a larger pan).

  5. Prepare pears, by peeling and coring.

  6. Arrange the pear halves in a circle on the top of batter, cut side down and with the thin end towards the centre of the cake. push lightly into the batter. Sprinkle flaked almonds over-top. Bake in pre-heated 180° oven for about 35 minutes, or until golden and the cake tests clean when a skewer is inserted into the centre of the cake.

  7. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin, then run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the ring and base.


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