Many years ago, a friend of mine raved about a particular Pear Cake she had tasted. Not long afterwards, I discovered amongst my recipes, that I too, had that particular recipe. Now, for me then, cake was either vanilla or chocolate, a fruit cake, just did not cut it for me. I really was on the fence about baking it for years, but eventually, my curiosity got the better of me. Well, I was super impressed, to the point I could not believe I had denied myself the deliciousness of this cake. It probably was the most moist cake I had ever tasted and the actual pears in the cake were superb.
The first time I made the cake I was slightly worried as the recipe stipulated that the cake would take 1 hour ten minutes to cook, mine took 2 hours and fifteen minutes! I was stressing thinking the cake would be all dry, (quite the opposite) I then wondered if it was because I had used a silicone bundt cake pan, not that, that would make the difference….but I questioned myself anyway…..So when I made the cake the second time, used a normal bundt cake pan, and the cake still took 2 hours and fifteen minutes! Again, a perfectly lovely moist cake…
Anyway, I was totally inspired, and from that cake, have created my own version. Using fresh apples and pears, and poaching them, a bunch of nuts, this cake has become a family favourite.
Oh, by the way, I found that each time I bake this cake it rises to the extent of being uneven once turned out of the tin. Grab a sharp knife and trim the cake to make it even and have your own private taste testing… I mean, the baker has to taste the cake ! Its a moment you won’t regret, and no-one needs to know 🙂 🙂 :-).
Apple, Pear and Nut Cake
Preparation time: 1 hour (including time to poach the apples and pears)
Cooking time: 2 1/4 hours
Total time: 3 hours 15 minutes (time can be reduced if poaching of the apples and pears are done beforehand and refrigerated)
To poach the apples and pears:
400 grams peeled and cored fresh apples (I used Granny Smith Apples)
400 grams peeled and cored fresh pears
2 cups (500 millilitres) water
1 cup (250 millilitres) sugar
More ingredients for the cake:
300 grams mixed chopped nuts (I used a mixture of almond, pecans and walnuts)
3 cups (750 millilitres) Cake Wheat Flour
2 cups (500 millilitres) white sugar
2 teaspoon (10 millilitres) cinnamon
1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 millilitres) salt
1 1/2 cups (375 millilitres) vegetable oil
3 free-range jumbo eggs
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 millilitres) vanilla extract
4 teaspoons (20 millilitres) butter
1 cup (250 millilires) icing sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons reserved apple and pear juice
1 tablespoon boiling water
To poach the apples and pears: In a medium-sized pot, place the chopped apples with two cups of water and a cup of sugar and poach till tender (but not too soft they are falling apart). Once the apples are done, take them out of the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool.
Then add the chopped pears to the reserved water in the medium-sized pot and poach till tender as well. Once done, remove the pears with a slotted spoon and set aside. Do not throw out this water as some of it will be used for the icing of the cake later on.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/325 degrees F.
Take out a large-sized mixing bowl, and sieve the flour, 2 cups sugar, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and salt together into this bowl.
Then, add the wet ingredients (oil, eggs and extract) to the dry ingredients.
With an electric hand beater, beat all the ingredients for about 4 minutes. The mixture becomes extremely thick. I found that the mixture literally was just hugging the hand beater blades, to the point I had to get a knife and ease the mixture off the blades in order for the blades to actually work properly. But it was fine, par for the course….
Then, once the ingredients are nicely combined, its time for ‘the arm workout’.
Fold in the apples, pears and nuts. This needs to be done well. The mixture is very stiff, so dig down deep with that metal tablespoon and fold. Some of the apples and pears will break automatically, but try not mash the apples and pears.
Seriously when you make this cake you can definitely skip going to the gym that day to do arm exercise!
Spoon the mixture into the greased 26 centimeter bundt cake tin.
Place onto a baking tray, just in case the mixture topples over with the rising and put in the preheated oven and enjoy the aroma of the cinnamon filtering through the kitchen.
Bake in the oven for 2 1/4 hours. (Check with a skewer after 1 hour and 10 minutes and see….I checked every 15 minutes thereafter with the skewer until the cake was done)
Once the cake is done, take it out of the oven and allow it to cool in the cake tin for 5 to 10 minutes. Then release onto a cooling rack.
Whilst the cake is cooling, prepare the icing.
Cream the butter and icing sugar together adding the icing sugar in small batches. When the mixture gets too dry and the icing sugar is flying around, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the reserved apple and pear juices and the tablespoon of water.
This does not make a large amount of icing, basically just enough to cover the top.
Scatter some nuts on the top of the icing for decoration.
NB* Use a digital scale if possible for accurate measurements.
NB* If using a silicone bundt cake pan, the cake must cool completely (literally be cold) before it is released from the silicone cake pan, otherwise the cake will fall to pieces.