Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook is, hands down, my favorite baking cookbook. I stare at those pictures over and over, just wishing I didn’t care if I get fat.
Each recipe is gorgeous. I am often tempted to do a Julie & Julia thing and just do every recipe from cover to cover.
This pear cake is an adaptation of a pear Bundt cake she makes in the book. Mine is slightly more simplified, and to make it more for a bake sale, there is enough batter to make four small loaves (That’s enough to keep one yourself!).
This is moist, dense, and very pear-tasting. I hope you like it as much as I did.
4 ripe pears, peeled and cut in chunks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
cream cheese glaze (recipe follows)
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray 4 mini loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray and place on a baking sheet. Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine pear chunks and 1/4 cup of sugar, and lemon juice. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the pears soften and break apart. You can help them along by smashing them with a potato masher, or just cook until they get soft on their own. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of pear sauce and set aside to cool.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, the remainder of the granulated sugar, and the brown sugar. Mix on high until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Add in vanilla, and beat on medium high speed for 4 minutes. Mix in sour cream.
4. In a small bowl, combine spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients to butter and sugar mixture. Mix until just incorporated. Stir in reserved pear sauce. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes.
cream cheese glaze
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream
Mix all ingredients together, adding more or less cream to reach desired consistency.