Miniature Forelle pears are sweet, luscious and almost too adorable to eat. We especially love them layered into this dense cake, scented with the warm notes of cardamom and bright lemon zest.
To start, we sliced the petite, seasonal pears lengthwise to maintain their petite pear shape. After a toss in a bit of cognac, lemon juice, sugar and vanilla we fanned them between layers of fragrant, buttery cake and let the oven work its magic. As the aroma filled every room in the house, we debated whether this cake would be best taken as dessert with a glass of vin santo or an afternoon snack with a cup of tea. What do you think?
Forelle Pear Cake
makes one 9" cake
8 Forelle Pears 1 Tablespoon cognac 1 teaspoon lemon juice 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1¼ cup all purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon ground cardamom ¼ teaspoon salt 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter 1 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons lemon zest 2 eggs; at room temperature 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar
To prepare the pears, cut each pear lengthwise into thin slices. Toss with cognac, lemon juice, sugar and vanilla. Set aside until ready to use.
To make the cake, preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 9” spring-form pan, set aside.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Cream together butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy; about 4 minutes. Add in lemon zest and allow to mix for an additional minute. Add in eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.
Stir dry ingredients into wet in two additions, mixing just to combine.
Spread half the batter evenly into the bottom of prepared pan. Place pear slices evenly on top of batter. Spread remaining batter over the pear slices and lay the rest of the slices on top in a decorative pattern. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and bake for 40-50 minutes until top in browned and cake is baked through.
Remove from oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack for another 30 minutes. Slice and serve cake warm or at room temperature.