Sunday, 20 May 2012

Pear and Elderflower Upside-down Cake

The theme for this month's Tea Time Treats challenge is floral - either in appearance or flavour. After my disastrous attempt to use rosewater in a Turkish Delight flavoured jam tart, I had a quick rethink and decided to try making something flavoured with elderflowers. In any other year, elderflowers would probably be blooming by now, and could be picked and used, but they are still a few weeks off flowering in this cold and wet part of the world, so elderflower cordial would have to do instead.

I wanted to use the cordial to flavour a sponge cake and decided to make an upside down cake with pears, so that the flavour of the elderflower wouldn't be overwhelmed by the other ingredients. I'm not sure I succeeded totally on that point, but I did manage to arrange the pears to make the cake look almost floral!

I adapted this recipe for a Lighter Lemon Drizzle Cake again, and made it larger by around 30%, so that I could use a larger cake tin.

I used a 9" (22cm) springform tin, lined with baking parchment to come about 1/2" (2cm) up the sides of the tin. (Unfortunately this still wasn't quite high enough to prevent the syrup in the base from leaking out, so I really must get hold of some cake tin liners for these sort of cakes!)

I sprinkled the base of the cake tin with 50g light muscovado sugar, and dotted around about 50g butter. I then drizzled over 2 tablespoons of elderflower cordial before arranging tinned pears and halved glacé cherries into a vaguely floral pattern. I used  7 pear halves, cutting one into a circle for the centre of the arrangement, but I wished I had squeezed in another when I saw the finished cake.

For the cake batter, I used:

240g SR flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
100g polenta
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
190g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
270mls natural yogurt
100mls sunflower oil
3 tablespoons elderflower cordial
few drops yellow colouring

This is a cake which is simple to make - put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Beat together the yogurt and eggs and stir that and the oil into the dry mix until fully incorporated. Stir in the cordial and colouring at the end, before spooning the batter over the fruit carefully, so as not to disturb the fruit. Bake at 180C for about 60 minutes, covering the cake if it seems to be browning too quickly. Test with a probe to see that it comes out clean, then leave the cake in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out, fruit uppermost.

The cake was well flavoured, and moist, although the elderflower wasn't a very strong influence - I think I should either have used a little more cordial, or left out the lemon zest in the batter.

If I hadn't have been using the floral theme, I would have cut the pears into thinner slices and packed them in more closely - as it was some servings didn't get their fair share of pears!

I served the cake as a dessert with creme fraiche, but  it would be equally at home on the tea table.

Tea Time Treats is a monthly baking challenge to provide goodies for the tea table, hosted alternately by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Kate from What Kate Baked. Karen chose this month's floral theme and will be posting a round-up of enries at the end of the month.


Unknown said...

i've never made an upside down cake before but i'm so inspired y yours, it looks incredible... and I love elderflower, it's so sweet and tart at the same time... adorable!

Snowy said...

This looks very floral, Suelle. Haven't tried using elderflower cordial in baking, but like it as a drink. Pears are my favourite fruit, so this is certainly one for me to try. Thanks.

Caroline said...

What a beautiful looking cake! I love the sound of the combination of pears and elderflower, they sound really complimentary both being quite subtle. I've got some elderflower at the moment so may have to follow your lead.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Pretty! I don't like elderflower, so "subtle" is good for me!

Lauralovescakes said...

This cake looks amazing...I love the floral pattern...a great touch! :-)

Baking Addict said...

I love how you've arranged the pears - they look really pretty! I've never baked with elderflower before - must give it a go soon. Looks delicious!

Choclette said...

Oh, so very pretty Suelle and it really does look like a flower - very inspired. It sounds delicious too. I've been meaning to try elderflower cordial in a cake for years and keep forgetting about it. Then I see something like this and am reminded all over again and then .....!

tori said...

Gorgeous- the pears look stunning. I find that the heat of the oven often cooks out elderflower when I use it in cakes- I try and bake a dryer cake and then drizzle some of the cordial over while it's cooling....

Suelle said...

That's a good tip, tori, thank you.

celia said...

Suelle, your cake is a work of art, and perfect for the floral theme. And anyone who can invent a leakproof springform pan would probably make a fortune!

Karen S Booth said...

I LOVE upside down cakes, and LOVE how you added the floral them with the looks and the elderflower......SUCH a pretty entry for Tea Time Treats, thanks so much!