A salted caramel pear cake with rosemary on a cake stand

Salted caramel pear cake

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Prep: 1 hr Cook: 50 mins

A challenge

Serves 12

Bake a cake that has it all: moist, fragrant sponge, silky Italian meringue, tahini buttercream and sharp pear-laced salted caramel. Serve with a cup of tea.

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: Per serving (12)

  • kcal743
  • fat38g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs89g
  • sugars66g
  • fibre3g
  • protein8g
  • salt1.5g
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Ingredients

  • 2cm piece ginger, grated
    Ginger

    Ginger

    jin-jer

    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 4 Williams pears, 3 grated over a sieve, reserving the pear juice for the caramel, 1 peeled, cored and chopped (do this when about to decorate)
  • 360g self-raising flour
  • 15g rye flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
    Ginger

    Ginger

    jin-jer

    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • ½ tsp turmeric
    Turmeric

    Turmeric

    term-er-ik

    Turmeric is a fragrant, bright golden-yellow root that is most commonly seen and used dried and…

  • ½ tsp nutmeg
    Nutmeg

    Nutmeg

    nut-meg

    One of the most useful of spices for both sweet and savoury

  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
    Cinnamon

    Cinnamon

    sin-ah-mun

    A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…

  • 1 tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 4 eggs
    Eggs

    Egg

    egg

    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 150g light brown muscovado sugar, sieved
  • 150ml rapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 120g natural yogurt
  • toasted buckwheat, dehydrated pear and rosemary, to serve (optional)

For the pear-salted caramel

  • 50g unsalted butter, plus extra for the tins
    Butter

    Butter

    butt-err

    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 50ml reserved pear juice
  • 150ml perry
  • 100g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp double cream
  • generous pinch sea salt

For the icing

  • 4 egg whites
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 250g butter, at room temperature
    Butter

    Butter

    butt-err

    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 2 tbsp tahini
    Tahini

    Tahini

    ta-hee-nee

    Also known as tahina, this finely ground paste of husked and roasted sesame seeds is an…

  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste

Method

  1. Heat oven to 195C/175C fan/gas 5 ½. Butter and line the base of three 20cm round cake tins. Add the grated ginger to the grated pear and push down with a wooden spoon to squeeze out as much juice as possible.

  2. Mix the flours, spices, baking powder and 1 tsp salt in a bowl. In a stand mixer, vigorously whisk the eggs and sugars for 3 mins until thick and frothy. Slowly pour in the oil in a steady stream. Turn the speed down, then add the flour mixture, 2 tbsp at a time, alternating with the yogurt, until incorporated. Mix in the grated pear (for no longer than 20 secs). Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 25-30 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out dry.

  3. For the caramel, heat the pear juice and perry in a pan until reduced to about 50ml. Add the sugar and butter and whisk to a smooth caramel, then add the cream and whisk again until smooth. Add sea salt to your taste – I’d go for a generous pinch, so that the caramel is still fruity and sharp but has a little saltiness to it – then allow to cool slightly to just warmer than room temperature.

  4. To make the buttercream, put the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a pan of boiling water, then whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is no longer gritty. Put the bowl in the mixer, then whisk until soft peaks form and the bowl returns to room temperature. Switch to the paddle attachment, then add the butter, one spoonful at a time. Add the tahini, vanilla and a pinch of salt, and beat to a light, fluffy icing.

  5. Place the bottom layer of sponge on a platter or cake stand, then top with a layer of the buttercream and scatter over a third of the chopped pear. Repeat with the next two layers. To ice the cake, do an intial layer all over, chill in the fridge for 20 mins, then use the remaining icing to cover everything. Use a stepped spatula to spread it out evenly. Pour the caramel over the top of the cake, and allow it to drip down the sides. Scatter with toasted buckwheat, dehydrated pear and rosemary, if you like.

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