This is currently one of my favourite cakes, it's moist, packed full of flavour, and looks sensational. The cake tastes like gingerbread, and the pear adds freshness, you will find it hard not to go back for a second slice. I have realised I am a sucker for baked fruits in desserts, and it seems I have an affection towards pears that I did not know existed. The spices in this recipe will have your senses buzzing even it touches your lips. enjoy.
I used an original 1923 Swans Down Cake pan (see image below). A 9 inch (23cm) Springform cake tin will work just fine, even a bundt tin.
If you are looking for a Swans Down cake tin, Etsy is a great place to find them, also eBay.
220g AP flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
100g light brown sugar
Zest from 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract / powder
25g freshly grated ginger
60ml canola oil, or olive oil
2 Tbsp (40ml) lemon juice, or water
2 large eggs, room temperature
150g creme fraiche
5 pears, washed
Icing sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and flour a springform pan (about 23 cm/9 inches in diameter).
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and clove in a medium bowl, set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter first (approx 2-3 min), and then mix in the sugar.
To the butter mixture add the lemon zest, vanilla extract, grated ginger, olive oil, honey, and lemon juice, mix to combine.
Next add the eggs one at a time, mixing before adding the second egg.
Finally stir in the flour mixture, and creme fraiche in batches, be sure to mix well after each batch, do not over work the mixture.
Carefully pour the batter into your prepared tin.
Slice a small amount from the bottom of each pear so that they sit up straight, this will prevent them from falling over whilst baking. You can also core the pears using a melon baller (this step is optional, not essential). Press the pears down into the batter mixture stem side up.
Bake the cake on the lowest rack of the oven for 50-55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Start checking around 45 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove the sides of the springform pan, or if you’ve baked in another pan you can leave the cake to cool completely in the pan. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
* If you find the pears are browning too quickly, cover them in foil and continue to bake.
* take care when greasing the tin, this is essential to removing the cake without breaking it.
* this tastes great served with dollop cream, although it is moist and juicy and doesn't really need it (I'll leave this up to your discretion)