Pear and almond cake

So they say it’s now autumn. I feel a little ripped off on the seasons front in the UK. I think we really only get two. Spring and winter. There is no in-between, we certainly don’t get a summer. So as far as I see it we are now in winter. But at my local farmers market this weekend it was clearly evident that we are in fact in autumn. Parsnip, squash, beetroot, leeks, purple kale and boxes and boxes of British apples and pears. And it’s all screaming out for soups, roasts and delicious puddings.

This cake is triumphant in its simplicity. It’s all about the pear and perfectly complimented with a hint of almond. Adapted from a recipe by River Cottage’s, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, it a perfect autumnal bake.

150g unsalted butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
75g self raising flour
75g ground almonds
A good pinch of cinnamon

For the caramelised pears:
3 medium pears (reasonably firm)
25g unsalted butter
1 tbsp granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 170°C/gas 3. Grease a 20cm-diameter springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper.

2. Peel, core and quarter the pears.

3. Melt the 25g butter in a saucepan over a medium high heat. When it’s bubbling, add the sugar and stir gently until it has dissolved into the butter. Add the pears and cook gently, turning once or twice, until they have softened and are starting to colour, 5-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

4. In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter with the caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour with each to stop the mix curdling.

5. Fold the remaining flour, the ground almonds and the cinnamon into the mixture, mix well. Scrape into the prepared tin. Arrange the pears on top and pour on any buttery juices left in the pan.

6. Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

7. Stand the cake in its tin on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes, then release the tin. Serve the cake warm with icecream or clotted cream.