Pear & al­mond cake

Prima (UK) - - Autumn Puds -

This mor­eishly moist cake is de­light­ful with ice cream for af­ters, but equally good with an af­ter­noon cuppa. SERVES 8 PREP 25min, plus cool­ing COOK about 1¼hr

• 225g (8oz) un­salted but­ter, soft­ened, plus ex­tra to grease

• 250g (9oz) caster sugar

• 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten

• 125g (4oz) self-rais­ing flour, sifted

• Few drops al­mond ex­tract

• 75g (3oz) ground al­monds

• 2 medium pears

• 2tbsp de­mer­ara sugar

• 15g (½oz) flaked al­monds, for the top­ping

1 Pre­heat oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4. Grease and line base and sides of a 20.5cm (8in) round cake tin with bak­ing parch­ment. In a large bowl with a hand­held elec­tric whisk, beat but­ter and caster sugar to­gether un­til pale and creamy. Grad­u­ally add the eggs, mix­ing well af­ter each ad­di­tion – if the mix­ture looks as if it might cur­dle, mix in 1tbsp of the flour. Beat in the al­mond ex­tract.

2 Us­ing a large metal spoon, fold in the flour and ground al­monds. Scrape mix­ture into the pre­pared tin and level the sur­face. Bake for 20min.

3 Mean­while, peel, halve and core the pears. Slice halves length­ways into

5mm (¼in) thick slices then, keep­ing slices to­gether, fan them slightly.

4 When the cake has baked for 20min, care­fully take it out of oven. Work­ing quickly, use a pal­ette knife to lift the pear fans on to the par­tially cooked cake (they should sink slightly). Sprin­kle over the de­mer­ara sugar and flaked al­monds. Re­turn cake to oven for a fur­ther 55min, or un­til a skewer in­serted into the cen­tre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10min, then re­move from tin and trans­fer to a wire rack. Serve just warm or at room tem­per­a­ture, dusted with ic­ing sugar if you like.

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