I'm often guilty of over complicating things. Does that sandwich cookie need an extra glaze? Should I drizzle white chocolate over the semi-sweet chocolate ganache on top of the cheesecake? But often, it's the simplest, unadorned baked goods that offer the sweetest, most unadulterated flavors. Such is the case with this classic, elegant pear cake.
Right now pears are near the top of my food obsession list - surpassed probably only by chickpeas. In addition to being one of the few fruits in season (aside from citrus, of course), pears are sweet, soft and juicy. But they only last a few days - so bake them up quick into this delicious cake/quick-bread hybrid. I love that the pears are grated in this recipe - it ensures they blend right into the cake adding texture and flavor without any big pear chunks.
This was a cake we kept going back to again and again to just cut one more slice - and, as promised in the original recipe, it did improve with age - but I couldn't really say if that continues past day 2. The experiment was...cut short.
This was also the cake that gave me sustenance during the great cookie decorating trial of 2010. See there it is - all the way at the end of the table.
Previously: Pear and Bittersweet Chocolate Cake, Pear-Filled Shortbread
Tip of the Day: Pears will begin to brown quickly after peeling and grating, so make sure to leave that step until you're ready to add them to the batter.
Recipe: (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 medium pears
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Mix the oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla together. Peel and grate the pears and add them to the mixture, stirring to combine.
Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and stir just until there are no more streaks of flour.
Scrape the batter into a greased 10" tube pan or two 9" loaf pans. Bake at 350 F for 60 to 70 minutes, until nicely browned and tests done. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out.