September soul food: Sticky toffee pear cake
By Dorothy Miles
Sticky Toffee Pear Cake
This cake is a twist on everyone’s favourite comfort pud – sticky toffee pudding. This can be served hot or cold with sticky toffee sauce as a dessert, or as a delicious cake with a cuppa. It’s made for those chilly autumn nights that have us reaching for the blanket.
For the cake:
- 4 small pears
- 2 strips lemon zest
- 8 tbsp caster sugar
- 4cm chunk fresh ginger
- 100g softened butter
- 175g dark brown sugar
- 200g self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 80g treacle
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 4 heaped tsp chopped stem ginger in syrup
For the sticky sauce:
- 25g unsalted butter
- 115g double cream
- 90g dark brown sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- Vanilla ice cream to serve (optional)
- Peel the pears and slice the bottoms off to create a flat surface, enabling the pears to stand upright of their own accord.
- Place the peeled pears in a small saucepan that fits them snuggly and cover with cold water. Add 8tbsp sugar, the fresh ginger (roughly chopped into pieces), and the lemon zest. Place over a high heat and bring up to a simmer before turning down to poach the pears for around 10 minutes until the necks of the pears are tender when tested with a skewer but the main body of the pear retains a little bite.
- Remove the pears from the syrup and set aside to drain and cool whilst you prepare the cake.
- Preheat the oven to 170c/ gas 4. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper
- Cream the butter and 175g dark brown sugar using electric beaters until it has become light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition, adding 1tbsp of the flour along with each egg to help stop curdling.
7. Once the eggs are combined, fold in the treacle, then the remainder of the flour and baking powder, and the ground and stem ginger.
8. Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin then carefully add the pears so that their tops are poking out the top elegantly.
9. Bake in a preheated oven for 45-50 minutes until the sponge bounces back when gently pressed and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into it.
10. Leave the cake to settle in its tin for 5 minutes, before lifting it out carefully to cool on a wire rack.
11. If serving immediately, begin the sauce. Place all the ingredients for the sticky sauce in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring regularly.
12. The sugar should melt and emulsify with the cream to form a shiny, sticky sauce. Allow the sauce to bubble gently for a couple of minutes before removing from the heat.
13. Serve the cake warm or cold with hot sticky sauce and ice cream. The cake will keep for 3 days in an airtight container. Sticky sauce can be made ahead and reheated when required but is best eaten within 2 days.