I’m in a bit of a baking mood right now for some reason, perhaps it’s the bitingly cold but sunny weather we’re getting here in London this week? Or perhaps I’ve been cake-bribing people at work more than usual…? Aaanyway, last night I rustled up this pear and cardamom loaf cake for work as a bit of a test of the combination and something that I could churn out reasonably quickly. I’ve got an idea for something a bit more sophisticated with this lush flavour combo, but after the reaction from my colleagues today I couldn’t hold this recipe back. It’s a straightforward loaf cake that doesn’t take much time or effort to make, but DANG it has a beautiful flavour.
For something that I must admit I essentially threw together last night, this cake has gone down an absolute treat in the office today and for a few reasons. People have loved the sweet crust on top where I sprinkled some light brown sugar just before baking – mainly because I didn’t have time to think about a more exciting sauce or glaze to go with it. Plus, the cake itself ended up being soft, fluffy, and slightly moist from the juice of the pears, but without being soggy. There’s been a look of intrigue mixed with delight on people’s faces as they’ve eaten it while they’ve tried to work out what the flavours are. Pear is such a deliciously subtle fruit that I’m feeling I should bake with much more often, and I haven’t held back on the cardamom in this recipe as I want people to be able to really taste it!
- 200g unsalted butter plus extra for greasing
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g light brown sugar plus extra for topping
- 3 eggs (2 if using large eggs)
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 200g self-raising flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- Pinch salt
- 2 large ripe conference pears
- Heat the oven to 170°C or 150°C with fan.
- Grease a 2lb loaf tin and line with baking paper. Set aside until the mix is ready – it’s important to have this prepared so that when you’ve mixed everything together you don’t have to leave it standing after the baking powder has gone to work.
- Peel and chop the pears into fairly small pieces and set aside as you’ll need to add them quickly in a couple of steps.
- Cream together the butter and sugar. If your butter is quite cold and hard, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it, but don’t melt it!
- Beat the eggs and add the vanilla extract before pouring in to the butter and sugar mixture. Stir until well combined.
- In another bowl, mix together the self-raising flour, baking powder, pinch of salt, and ground cardamom. Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined.
- Quickly stir in the chopped pears and transfer the mixture to your pre-lined loaf tin.
- Bake for 1:15 hours or until you can insert a skewer or chopstick into the middle and it comes out clean.