Moist pear and ginger cake, filled with slightly sweet honey mascarpone and topped with warm caramelised brandy vanilla pears. Perfect for those cold winter evenings by the fire.
I always find it rather funny when, on a cold day, someone exclaims to me about the frigid temperature and then says something along the lines of ‘winter is on it’s way’. I just don’t get it. I mean, surely it is evident in every gust of icy wind that winter is most definitely here!
For those of you lucky people in the northern hemisphere enjoying balmier climates, here in Victoria (in the south of Australia) we have been experiencing an exceptionally blistery winter. Forget all those advertisements about tropical beaches with colourful reefs. Forget Paul Hogan cooking prawns on the BBQ. We have been freezing our little tushes off!
I love summer. I’ve never understood those that enjoy winter. The idea of being couped up inside, while sheets of rain batter the windows is not my idea of fun. There are only two redeeming features of this season. Skiing (which is terribly unaffordable and mostly disappointing in Australia) and lovely winter treats to keep me warm.
In winter, I particularly enjoy making cakes with seasonal fruit. Especially pears! They are so juicy and flavoursome and found in abundance everywhere you turn. So I felt the need this week (while blasting my heater and wearing three pairs of woolly socks) to make something warming and just a little cheeky with pears and a hit of ginger and brandy for good measure!
This pear and ginger cake is so delicious and easy to make. No need to crack out the stand mixer (trust me, you are already using enough electricity for your heater and electric blanket). All you need is a bowl and a wooden spoon. The pear makes this cake incredibly moist, while the ginger gives is a hit of spice. The honey mascarpone is the perfect creamy balance, and again is super easy to make (no double boilers!). And to finish it all off, it is topped with warm decadent brandy vanilla pears (which could really be a dessert in their own right!).
So enjoy this wintery dessert and if you’re on the other side of the world pin it for 6 months time (or check out these summery raspberry lemonade cupcakes)
- 500g ripe pears, peeled, cored and coarsely grated
- 480g light brown sugar
- 180g walnuts, chopped
- 390g plain flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 230ml sunflower oil
- 3 eggs
- 500g mascarpone
- ½ cup thickened cream
- 1½ tbsp honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extracts
- 2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and halved
- 50g butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 tbsp brandy
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease two 7 inch pans and line with baking paper.
- Mix the grated pears, sugar and walnuts and let stand for 30 minutes.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and ginger in a separate bowl.
- Mix the oil and eggs into the pear mixture, then very gently mix the sifted dry ingredients by hand.
- Pour into prepared pans and bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out dry.
- Cool completely in pans.
- In a large bowl, mix the mascarpone, thickened cream, honey and vanilla by hand until you have a smooth frosting.
- Heat the butter in a medium sized pan over a medium heat.
- Add the pears to the pan and cook until golden brown.
- Add the brown sugar, brandy and vanilla, and cook until caramelised and slightly thickened.
- Cut each cake in half so that you have 4 layers.
- Place the first layer on a serving dish or cake board. Top with a quarter of the honey mascarpone. Repeat with all layers including the top layer.
- Top with warm caramelised brandy vanilla pears just before serving.
Honey mascarpone and caramelised pears are best made on the day.