If you're in Sydney at the moment, I hope you're loving this weather. The mornings are not too hot and though it is getting a little darker for those of us who wake up at the insane hour of 6am on a weekend just for the hell of it, us early birds are rewarded for our efforts with the beautiful colours of the sunrise.
It is also the last weekend of the summer. Daylight saving is going to be over soon. A new season will be upon us soon. Almost time to pack up the summer clothes and prepare for the cooler months ahead.
With these thoughts in my mind, I embarked on my last baking project of the season.
The mission, to use up 6 over ripe pears that have been languishing in my fridge for the past week. Along the way, I used up lots of other stray bits and pieces in the pantry and fridge. A very satisfying achievement that ties in nicely with Frugal February.
I found this recipe for a Fabulously Sweet Pear Cake on one of my favourite American cooking sites, allrecipes.com and it sounded perfect for my purposes. Spices and fruit are one of my favourite baking combinations.
I love how the house is filled with such fragrant and comforting aromas as this kind of cake bakes.
I was able to christen my Babushka measuring cups today. I love them. I am now on the lookout for a set of quirky measuring spoons and a spatula. In the background is my froggy-luna, a double bladed mezzaluna from Furi knives. I think it was Nigella Lawson that brought the mezzaluna into domestic kitchens all those years ago.
Back to the recipe. As above, you basically allow the sugars, nuts and chopped pear to sit for an hour or so (while you go fetch a Saturday morning coffee and get a DVD) before getting on with the next step.
Then, on to the pan. My ode to Anolon continues - this is my large springform square pan which again is almost unstickable. Some of my other tricks to make sure the base doesn't stick - grease proof paper on the base and a dusting of cinnamon sugar on the sides of the greased pan. I got the Cinnamon Sugar in the Woolworth's show bag from the 2009 Good Food & Wine Show. The sugar caramelizes as the cake bakes and looks prettier than white flour on the sides of a cake.
I actually forgot to puree the pear and nut mixture. Oooops. Remembered just as I poured the fruit into the flour mix - too late. Never mind.
Another thing American baking is keen on is apple sauce. Many of the home bakers in the US substitute apple sauce for some of the vegetable oil required in cake recipes. Seems to work for me too. I ended up going for 1/2 cup of oil and a 1/2 cup of apple sauce.
And then into the oven. I decorated the top with leftover pear slices. Fingers crossed it'll turn out.
Looks promising. Skewer definitely came out clean in the middle and cake has pulled away from the edges of the pan. Pear slices did not burn.