It's autumn. Late autumn, to be specific. It's gray and cold outside, the garden is put to bed for the winter, and we drink hot beverages all day to keep our hands warm. Most importantly, it's time to bake comfort foods. The holiday season will be here before we know it, but first, let's enjoy these calm and quiet, if a little bleak, days. I'm doing this by hanging some leaves, brewing some coffee, and getting into the kitchen for some baking.
I started my baking with this pear caramel cake. It's the perfect thing to bake in November - it goes together easily, it's not fussy but it can be fancy, and it makes the perfect comforting dessert on a chilly, gray day. The cake batter and caramel mixture separate themselves out to create a lightly spiced, pear-filled, moist cake, while the caramel mixture turns into a rich and decadent sauce. It's a keeper.
Helping me with the timing element of my holiday baking, is my new wooden watch, by JORD. It's a beautifully crafted, unique wooden watch that goes with everything. It's practical and stylish, and no, they didn't tell me to say that. I am excited to partner with them for the holiday season, and for a limited time, my readers and Instagram followers can get a gift code for 25% off by signing up with them here. Is there anyone on your list that would love a cool, new watch for Christmas? Check out their collections for men and women. They have a great selection! My watch is the sandalwood and slate style, from the Frankie series and you can find it here.
When the cake first comes out of the oven, it will be as hot as lava, so let it rest for at least 15-20 minutes, or up to an hour, cool and thicken the sauce. (In the photo above, my sauce is a little thin because I was too eager and didn't let the cake rest long enough.) The cake is best served warm, and since it's easy to prepare, you can serve it for a dinner gathering without too much extra effort. Just prepare the cake batter and caramel sauce before the meal, then bake it while you're eating dinner. The cake is plenty decadent on it's own, but you could really take it over the top by serving it with ice cream or freshly whipped cream. Solo, with coffee, is also pretty darn good.
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. milk
- 2 c. pears (I used Bosc)
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. corn starch
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 c. unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 c. hot water
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 9" square pan or 6-8 (depends on size) ramekins. I used a deep, 9" pie dish for my cake and it was full to the rim.
To make the cake - stir together the dry ingredients. Add in the milk and stir until smooth. You could use an electric mixer, but I mixed mine by hand. It worked well and felt wholesome. Stir in the chopped pears and pour into the prepared pan or ramekins.
For the caramel sauce - Stir together the brown sugar, corn starch, and salt. Heat the butter and water together, just until the butter is melted. Then stir that into the sugar mixture. Pour the mixture over the top of the cake batter. It will look gross at this point. The caramel sauce is VERY thin at this stage and it seems so odd to pour it on top of the cake, and some of the cake batter will mix and run with the sauce, but it really does work.
Place the pan or ramekins on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (If it bubbles over, you'll be glad you did this!) Bake for 40-45 minutes for one cake pan, or 30-35 for ramekins. You want the top of the cake to be firm and golden, and it should be bubbling around the edges. Let cool for 15-20 minutes, or more, before serving. It really is best warm, and I found the 20 min mark to be ideal serving temperature. I sprinkled mine with powdered sugar, purely for looks. It's not necessary but does make it prettier, so you can do that or not. It tastes great either way.