If you're anything like me, it's around now that new years' resolutions start falling by the wayside - I give things a good go for a week or so, but then boredom kicks in and will power fades. This cake is perfect for the January hinterland where the urge to guzzle down cake can be assuaged with the fact that it's packed full of delicious pears. Just because it's fruity doesn't mean it's boring though - with a caramelised pear topping, brown sugar sponge and slivers of candied stem ginger it's puddingy without being rich and actually kind of addictive. The pears give the cake a moist and mild flavour which works well with the more punchy spices of ginger and cinnamon. They give a silky texture to the caramelised topping, but you could use another fruit if you have too many apples or stone fruit that need using up. And, if you are hung up about healthy resolutions, just think about the calories burnt from chopping up all those pears! Then go ahead and enjoy a few slices warm from the oven anyway.
Sticky Caramel Pear & Ginger Cake
2 ripe pears, peeled and sliced lengthwise
50g softened butter
100g soft brown sugar
50g soft brown sugar
100g caster sugar
50g black treacle
3 eggs, lightly beaten
175g self raising flour
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp mixed spiced
2 pears, peeled and chopped into small pieces
2 pieces of stem ginger, chopped into small pieces (from jar in syrup)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the base of a 20cm (8 inch) round cake tin (springform if possible) and grease lightly with some butter or oil.
2. Make the topping first, by mixing the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Spread this evenly onto the base of the prepared cake tin and arrange the pear slices on top in a fan-like pattern around the edge of the tin.
3. For the cake, cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and then add the treacle and then the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
4. Add the flour and spices to the batter and mix until just combined. Stir in the chopped pears and stem ginger and then spoon the cake mixture over the pears and smooth over to level the surface.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes until golden brown - you can test if its baked with a toothpick/skewer if you wish, insert into the cake and if it comes out clean the cake is done.
6. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Scrape the sides of the cakes with a knife to make sure none is clinging to the edges and then turn out onto an inverted serving plate and turn over. The lined tin prevents any pears sticking to the bottom so it should look very pretty on your plate!