Recipe: Caramel pear spice cakes
- 3 small sugar pears
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp each: ground ginger, nutmeg, cardamom
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set six 1-cup nonstick ramekins on a baking sheet; place baking sheet close to the stove.
2 To make the caramel pears, peel and core the pears and cut each one into 8 wedges. Combine the sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil; cook, without stirring, until the mixture turns a rich caramel colour (this should take approximately 6 to 8 minutes). Very carefully divide the hot caramel among the ramekins. Quickly arrange three or four pear slices over the caramel in each ramekin.
3 To make the spice cake, stir together the flour, baking powder and ground spices in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric hand mixer until well combined. Stir in the vanilla and add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition until light and fluffy.
4 Add the flour mixture and the milk alternately to the sugar mixture in two or three additions, beating well after each addition. Spoon the batter evenly over the caramel pears in each ramekin. Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for about 35 minutes, until the tops are light golden and set. Remove pan from the oven and, working quickly, run a knife around the edges of each of the cakes to loosen; turn each cake out onto a small plate. Serve immediately with crème fraîche or whipped cream on the side.