This cake takes a horrible picture, and it’s kind of a pain, but it’s well worth it.
100g butter, plus extra for greasing
200g caster sugar
4 eggs, separated
200g plain white flour
2tsp baking powder
1tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
For pear Base:
4 large firm pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1cm slices
1tbsp lemon juice
180g caster sugar
50g stem ginger, finely chopped (ginger that has been preserved in a sweet syrup)
2tbsp ginger syrup from the stem ginger.
Preheat to 180c/350f, and line the sides and bottom of a springform cake tin with buttered greaseproof paper.
To make the pear base:
Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Toss the pears in the lemon juice, then add to the butter, and cook gently for about 3 min, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Add the sugar, ginger and syrup and cook for a further 4 min, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon, and arrange at the bottom of the cake tin. Turn up the heat and boil the remaining liquid for about 5 min till a light caramel starts to form. Pour the caramel over the pears and put to one side.
To make the cake:
Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition. Sift the flour, baking powder, spices and salt over, then gently fold in. Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture with a large metal spoon or spatula.
Pour the mixture over the pears, and smooth the surface. Bake for 40 min on a middle shelf, till a skewer comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and leave in it’s tin for 5 min before inverting onto a plate, and unclipping and removing the tin.
I toyed with renaming this one as “the aggressive ball of rage cake”, but in the end I decided that it was not the cake’s fault, so much as the cookbook’s. The cake it’s self is quite wonderful, but there are a few things that the recipe should have mentioned.
First of all, be sure to wrap the outside of the cake tin with kitchen foil. The syrup leaks out a bit. Actually somewhat more then a bit. It leaked on the counter, on the floor, onto the baking tray I put under it, and still onto the bottom of the oven. It was a leak fest.
Also, something should be said about the consistency of the batter. Usually when you whip up eggs like that, it then involves gently folding them into a batter trying to keep the air in them etc. The mixture that you are adding the eggs into in this recipe, is the consistency of especially hard cookie dough. I actually broke my spatula in two mixing it. The egg just loosens it up. A little warning about that would have been nice.
Also, it says to check it with a toothpick, or cake tester, but it has a wet syrup top, so you have to be really careful to get it in enough to do a real test, but not so much that you touch the wet part (which starts sooner then you would think).
A funny note about this cake, it’s from a cook book called “Cooking Without fuss”, but to date, I believe it to be one of the fussiest things I’ve made.
Now, all of that said, I have to admit that this cake was really quite amazingly good. The day after left-overs were just as good too. I slightly increased the ground ginger and cinnamon, cuz I always do. It was like the perfect soft gingerbread, but with lovely pear compote-ish goodness.
It’s saying a lot about the quality of this cake, when I say that I forgave it, even though I have to buy oven cleaner now.