Thursday, 28 August 2014
Pear, Ginger and Lemon Cake
Now that I'm only cooking for two, I'm looking for more recipes for small cakes, and for cakes which will keep for more than a couple of days. Good keeping quality generally rules out cakes made with fresh fruit, and while I was looking for dried fruit to use instead, I was quite sad to see that there is a much smaller range available than a few years ago - where did the dried peaches and plums (I don't mean prunes) go? If I asked, I guess I would be told that there was no demand for them, but it's such a shame to be limited when looking for produce. Fortunately dried pears are still available, so I grabbed a pack to make this cake.
When I checked the basic recipe for this cake, I realised that I had scaled it up many years ago from one which was made in a 1lb(small) loaf tin, so it was easy to go back to the original, although I did cut down on the sugar a bit.
200g SR flour
75g caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger
100g dried pears, chopped and soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, then well drained
3 balls of preserved stem ginger, washed and finely chopped
1 large egg
2 tablespoons syrup from the ginger jar
milk or yogurt to mix - about 4 tablespoons (I used vanilla flavoured pouring yogurt)
4 unrefined cane sugar cubes roughly crushed (or a tablespoon of Demerara sugar)
Preheat oven to 180C and prepare a small loaf tin - I used a pre-formed paper liner.
Rub the butter into the flour, then stir in the sugar, lemon zest and ground ginger. Add the pears and stem ginger, and mix well to coat the pieces with flour. Then mix in the egg and ginger syrup and enough milk or yogurt to give a soft dropping consistency.
Put the batter into the loaf tin, spread evenly and sprinkle on the sugar.
Bake for about 75 minutes, or until a test probe comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling.
This was a really harmonious blending of flavours and textures; there was the right amount of warmth from the ground ginger, which was balanced by a hint of lemon. The pieces of preserved ginger in the cake gave little bursts of spicy heat and the pears were soft and chewy. My husband usually only says anything about my cooking if he dislikes something, but even he said how good this was!