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45 minutes

Pear Loaf Cake

In this first week of January in the new year, I always take on a personal challenge. Using up the leftover “party food” and perishable items I was gifted with. The pounds of cookies are easy. My husband will eat them night and day with a gallon of milk. He’s happy…and still slim. How does that happen? Ditto, the wine. And if you think “to replace the milk”, you’d be incorrect. The man will drink wine and milk within the same 5 minutes. And still stay skinny. Not fair.
My bigger challenge is the fruit we are gifted. We can only eat so much before it spoils. However, this year we received a box of pears from a large mail order company and they looked lovely-perfect in every way. Except they never ripened. Still hard as a rock but turning brown. Poaching them was obvious and I did poach a few. But then I made this simple cake. Not too sweet with a nice sturdy crumb. Lighter than a pound cake but just as simple, this cake is a keeper. A yummy way to utilize those “end of life” pears.

Ingredients

  • ½ C. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 TBL. unsalted butter, cubed into roughly ½ “ cubes ***more butter needed below***
  • 2 pears, peeled, seeded and cut into aproximately 6 slices per 1/2 pear. The slices should be no thinner than ¼ “.
  • ½ C. unsalted butter, softened (plus 1 TBL., melted, to butter pan)
  • 2/3 C. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ C. SELF RISING flour (to make your own see below)
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ C. whole (not low fat) buttermilk (to make your own see below)

Directions

1.

Preheat oven to 350°.

2.

Butter and lightly flour a 9”X 5” loaf pan…even if you are using a non-stick pan!

3.

Cut a piece of parchment to fit and lay it sideways in the pan with the ends overlapping the sides.

Cut the parchment to fit with overhanging sides

4.

Put the brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of butter on top of the parchment in the pan. Put the pan in the oven to melt the butter (about 5 min.). Remove the pan from the oven and smooth out the mixture on the bottom of the pan with a small spoon or tiny rubber spatula.

5.

Lay the pear slices in a single layer on top of the butter/brown sugar mixture-don’t worry if there are some spaces. Set aside.

6.

Meanwhile in a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the ½ cup of softened butter and sugar until fluffy-about 4 minutes.

7.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

8.

Add the vanilla.

9.

Whisk together the 1 ¼ C. of self-rising flour (or your own mixture) and baking soda in a bowl.

10.

At low speed, add 1/3 of the flour to the butter mixture until barely combined, then add ½ the butter milk. Repeat, ending with the last of the flour. Do not over-mix or beat vigorously.

11.

Spread the batter over the pears.

12.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean-about 45 minutes.

13.

Let cool in the pan for about 2 minutes.

14.

If needed, run a knife around the edges of the cake and turn out the cake onto a cooling rack, pear side up. Immediately remove the parchment.

The Prettier the Pear Pattern, the Prettier the Cake

15.

Serve.

And watch it disappear. Be sure to have plenty of milk on hand (and/or wine as the case may be).

 

Self rising flour recipe:
2 C. all purpose flour
1 TBL. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
Buttermilk recipe:
½ C. whole milk
2 tsp. white vinegar
(Let sit for about 15 minutes before using).