This cake is a wonderful harmony of spicy ginger, rich batter and sweet fruit. To get the balance right, be sure to use the full amount of ginger and really fill the bottom layer with pears, packed tightly. Note the low baking temperature, which allows the soft batter to cook through.
6 large pears (about 1.2 kilograms)
45 grams unsalted butter
130 grams (1 lightly packed cup) brown sugar
1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon plain flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons flaky salt, crushed
125 grams unsalted butter, softened
150 grams (1 medium packed cup) brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons golden syrup
225 grams (1 scant cup) sour cream
1 large piece of fresh ginger (approximately thumb-sized), peeled and finely grated
24cm round cake tin lined with baking paper and lightly greased
Preheat your oven to 150°C. Line a 24cm round cake tin with non-stick baking paper and lightly grease the paper.
Pear Caramel: Peel, core and quarter the pears (if they are particularly large cut them into 6 or 8 even wedges). Melt the butter and brown sugar together, stirring well. Pour into the bottom of your tin to cover the base, then arrange the pears in a single decorative layer on top.
Cake: Sift the flour, ground ginger, baking soda and salt into a medium-sized bowl, stir to combine and set aside.
In a large bowl, use a hand, electric or stand mixer to cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed for 5–10 minutes until light and fluffy.
Pause occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure that all the butter is mixed in. With the mixer on, slowly add the eggs one at a time, then the golden syrup, sour cream and grated ginger, again pausing and scraping once or twice to ensure that all the ingredients are mixed in. Continue to beat for another few minutes. The mixture will be fairly runny at this point, and don’t worry if it looks a little curdled; it will all come together.
Add half of the dry ingredients and use a silicon spatula or large metal spoon to fold them in until just mixed with no white streaks remaining.
Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, being careful not to disturb the pears. Bake for 70–80 minutes, until a knife comes out clean but damp from the centre. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before carefully turning out on a wire rack, pear side up, to cool fully.
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