This is a moist, nutty cake that is delicious made with or without fruit if the baby pears prove hard to find. You could serve it with a side of roasted pears or a bowl of new season raspberries as I have with the plain cake.
2 x 350 gram jars Delmaine baby pears in syrup, drained
½ cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ cup water
½ cup cream
finely grated zest 1 orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup skin on whole almonds, finely ground
3 tablespoons plain flour, gluten-free or regular
½ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
thick plain yoghurt
22 cm square cake tin, greased and fully lined with baking paper, brought up the sides of the tin
Preheat the oven to 170˚C.
Trim the bases of the pears so they sit flat. Set aside.
Put both sugars and the water in a saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for about 8 minutes until it turns a dark golden colour.
Take off the heat and stir in the cream, taking care as it will bubble up furiously and some of the caramel will harden. Stir over a low heat until the sauce is smooth again. Cool for 10 minutes.
Whisk the eggs, zest and vanilla until very thick and pale. Slowly pour in the warm caramel, whisking constantly, then using a large metal spoon, fold in the combined almonds, flour, baking powder and salt.
Pour into the tin then place the pears into the batter if using. Bake for 25–30 minutes until puffed and golden and firm to the touch. Cool completely in the tin.
To serve: Lift out of the tin and remove the lining paper. Place on a serving plate and dust with icing sugar. Serve with yoghurt and a drizzle of maple syrup if using pears or fresh raspberries.