Sticky toffee poached pear cake
- November 2016
- Serves 10-12
- Hands-on 35 min, simmering 40-45 min, oven 65 min, plus cooling and marinating
Sometime upside down is the right way up. This recipe combines two of the greatest desserts – sticky toffee pudding and poached pears – into a showstopper cake.
- 21.2g (13g saturated)
- 64.4g (51.6g sugars)
For the poached pears
- 700ml perry (pear cider)
- 200ml ruby port
- 4 tbsp light muscovado sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 3 cloves
- Pared peel from ¼ lemon
- 3 firm pears
For the caramel
- 80g butter
- 160g light muscovado sugar
For the sponge
- 220ml natural yogurt (not low-fat)
- 200g unsalted butter
- 200g light muscovado sugar
- 200g black treacle
- 2 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
- 200g plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
You’ll also need…
- 20cm diameter cake tin, base lined with non-stick baking paper, greased with butter
- For the poached pears, combine the alcohol, sugar, spices and lemon peel in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Peel and destem the pears, then add them to the pan, making sure they’re covered by the liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook for 40-45 minutes until soft. Leave the pears to soak in the liquid in the fridge overnight, with a disc of baking paper touching the surface.
- Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Remove the pears and reserve 200ml of the poaching liquid in the pan. Cut the pears in half lengthways, then scoop out and discard the cores.
- To make the caramel, put the butter and sugar into a small saucepan, gently heat until melted, then whisk to combine. Keep heating and whisking and it will come together into a caramel. Pour the caramel into the prepared tin, then arrange the pear halves in it, flat-side down.
- To make the sponge, simmer the 200ml cooking liquid over a medium-high heat for 7-8 minutes until reduced by three quarters. Take off the heat and leave to cool for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the yogurt. Set aside. Put the butter, sugar and treacle into a large saucepan and gently heat until melted. Stir until well combined, then set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly. When cooled, beat in the eggs and the yogurt mixture. Mix the flour with the bicarbonate of soda, then stir it into the batter until just combined. Don’t stir it any more than necessary or the cake might become heavy.
- Carefully pour the cake batter over the pears, trying not to dislodge them. Smooth the top with a spatula, then bake for 65 minutes until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Run a knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the sponge, leave it on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a serving plate. Set aside for 15-20 minutes, then cut into slices and serve while still warm and sticky, with vanilla ice cream (or serve at room temperature with a cup of tea).
To use the rest of the poaching liquid, simmer it down to a syrup, strain, then stir into mulled wine or champagne, or mix with whipped cream to serve with Christmas pudding.
This cake will keep for up to 72 hours in an airtight container.
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