Thursday, April 19, 2007

Upside-down Pear and Ginger Cake

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:
100g butter
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.
Serve warm.

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.


Kevin said...

That sounds so good; Thanks for the recipe, I'm definately going to try it even if it is a hassle. Pear cake reminds me of Galleygirl's pear tart, if you've ever tried to make it. It's super-easy to make, the trick is that you need to enhance the flavor with some added liquor or extracts. Sometimes I add almond extract and brandy, other times, poirre william, you really should try the recipe, it's moist and delicious.

AteThat said...

I think the end of that web address got cut off. Let me know, cuz I'll definitely check that out.

By the way, let me know if you like the cake.

Kevin said...

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