Salted caramel pear cake
This spiced cake has it all: moist, fragrant sponge, silky Italian meringue tahini buttercream and sharp, moreish, pear-laced salted caramel.
SERVES 12 PREP 1 hr COOK 50 mins A CHALLENGE V
2cm piece ginger, grated 4 Williams pears, 3 grated over a sieve, reserving the pear juice for the caramel, 1 peeled, cored and chopped (do this when about to decorate) 360g self-raising flour 15g rye flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp each turmeric, nutmeg, ground cardamom and cinnamon 1 tsp baking powder
200g golden caster sugar 150g light brown muscovado sugar, sieved 150ml rapeseed or vegetable oil
120g natural yogurt
toasted buckwheat, dehydrated pear and rosemary, to serve (optional) for the pear salted caramel 50g unsalted butter, plus extra for the tins 50ml reserved pear juice 150ml perry
100g light brown muscovado sugar
1 tbsp double cream generous pinch sea salt for the icing
4 egg whites
250g golden caster sugar 250g butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
1 Heat oven to 195C/175C fan/gas 51/2. Butter and line the base of three 20cm round cake tins. Add the grated ginger to the grated pear and push down with a wooden spoon to squeeze out as much juice as possible.
2 Mix the flours, spices, baking powder and 1 tsp salt in a bowl. In a stand mixer, vigorously whisk the eggs and sugars for 3 mins until thick and frothy. Slowly pour in the oil in a steady stream. Turn the speed down, then add the flour mixture, 2 tbsp at a time, alternating with the yogurt, until incorporated. Mix in the grated pear (for no longer than 20 secs). Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 25-30 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out dry.
3 For the caramel, heat the pear juice and perry in a pan until reduced to about 50ml. Add the sugar and butter and whisk to a smooth caramel, then add the cream and whisk again until smooth. Add sea salt to your taste – I’d go for a generous pinch, so that the caramel is still fruity and sharp but has a little saltiness to it – then allow to cool slightly to just warmer than room temp. 4 To make the buttercream, put the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a pan of boiling water, then whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is no longer gritty. Put the bowl in the mixer, then whisk until soft peaks form and the bowl returns to room temperature. Switch to the paddle attachment, then add the butter, one spoonful at a time. Add the tahini, vanilla and a pinch of salt, and beat to a light, fluffy icing.
5 Place the bottom layer of sponge on a platter or cake stand, then top with a layer of the buttercream and scatter over a third of the chopped pear. Repeat with the next two layers. To ice the cake, do an intial layer all over, chill in the fridge for 20 mins, then use the remaining icing to cover everything. Use a stepped spatula to spread it out evenly. Pour the caramel over the top of the cake, and allow it to drip down the sides. Scatter with toasted buckwheat, dehydrated pear and rosemary, if you like.
PER SERVING (12) 743 kcals • fat 38g • saturates 16g • carbs 89g • sugars 66g • fibre 3g • protein 8g • salt 1.5g