So, Italy was a whirlwind, last minute adventure with the lovely Michelle.
We ate lots, drank lots, and traveled North to Torino to attend Salone Del Gusto, 2012. It is a massive trade show. We attended wine and espresso tasting seminars, and consumed more salami samples than I care to admit.
Rome to Turin to Florence to Tuscany and back, we had a dreamy time.
In honour of Miss Michelle’s birthday this weekend, and our trip, I baked this cake with an Italian twist. It turned out to be molto deliziosa!
Pear Cake with Pomegranate and Ginger Buttercream Icing
(Based on this recipe for Pear and Pistachio cake, my original plan, but alas, I could not locate any in time!)
- 4 sticks of butter, browned
- 6-8 unripe pears, shredded
- 6 eggs
- 3 cups coconut sugar (also can use brown sugar)
- 3 tsp baking soda
- 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 and 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 3 cups chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease, flour and add parchment paper to two 9″ pans.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. When it has completely liquefied, turn heat to medium to brown the butter. It will bubble, and brown bits will form on the bottom of the pan, and smell nutty. Be careful not to burn, or butter will taste bitter. Set aside to cool. You should have 1½ cups.
- Core the pears, leaving the peel on, and shred using the large side of a box grater or the medium-size grating attachment on a food processor. Gather shredded fruit into a triple thickness of cheesecloth or paper towels, and squeeze the liquid from the pears.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg at medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Then drizzle in brown butter and add vanilla. Add flour, and stir until just incorporated. Stir in shredded pear and walnuts gently. Divide the batter evenly between pans.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cakes have puffed and are lightly browned. Remove to a rack and let cool entirely before peeling away the parchment paper.
- Stack cooled cakes and generously spread icing between layers. Add fresh pomegranate in between the layers for a fresh pop. Garnish with more pomegranate and pear chips.
*Note- the recipe above is originally for a three layer cake, not two. I decided to only use two of the three layers because they were a) pretty thick and b) I didn’t think I’d have enough icing. Three layers would have been HUGE. I would suggest putting 1.5 cups of the batter aside and make some cupcakes with it instead of the third layer!
(I did not use the icing recipe from the site mentioned above, although I tried unsuccessfully twice to mix egg whites with butter- disaster!)
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- Beat room temperature butter on medium speed until soft, add icing sugar gradually until smooth.
- Increase speed and add vanilla, milk, and gingers for about 3 minutes.
- Adjust flavour if you’d like more sweetness. This is not an overly sweet icing.
- Thinly sliced pears
- 3/4 cups water
- 3/4 cups sugar
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Combine sugar and water until dissolved over medium heat, and add lemon juice.
- Slice pears vertically and let stand in water for ten minutes as soon as its cut
- Remove from syrup, and let excess drip back in the pan
- Bake for 1.5 hours, or until very dry, flipping half way through.
- Snack on these, or garnish the cake with them!
Here is my (rather unfortunate) photo of this lovely cake!
It tasted great!
Happy Birthday Michelle, and thank you for the memories!
I miss Italy already, and can’t wait to return.