Who’s up for a slice of pear cake? How about if we make it Sally Wise’s honey caramel topsy turvy pear cake? Me!
This is a recipe from Sally’s The Comfort Bake – which is just such a fantastic, all-around baking book. We made her chicken stroganoff pie a couple of weeks ago and I was swooning. Swooning. Like this pear cake, the stroganoff pie was not a fast recipe, but it’s a good one. All of the recipes in The Comfort Bake are like that: the kind of baking that is just as much about the meditation as it is about the eating.
I’m actually going to get Max a copy of this book for when he moves out of home next year for uni (struggling as I write that, I really am). It will be part of a pile of cookbooks I’ll be gifting him in the hope that he’ll turn into a cook after all. Or at least grow to appreciate how nourishing for the soul cooking nourishing food for your friends and family can be.
Now, I’m assuming Sally named this cake ‘topsy turvy’ because it’s a classic ‘upside down’ cake. That is, you serve it upside down because that’s where the magic happens. The caramel-glazed pears really make for such a pretty cake to serve for afternoon tea.
If you can’t get pears, make this with apples instead. Or really any fruit you happen to have on hand that goes well with caramel. I cannot wait until I buy pears to make this luscious cake, so it’s apples for me until I can get to the shops.
Honey caramel topsy turvy pear cake
From The Comfort Bake by Sally Wise
The autumnal flavour of pears in a rich butter caramel, topped with a drizzle of honey, makes this a most delicious cake.
Fresh, tinned or preserved pears can be used in this recipe.
825 g pear halves, drained if tinned
For the honey caramel
125 g salted butter
125 g soft brown sugar
20 g honey, plus 20 g extra, for glazing
For the cake
200 g white sugar
125 ml milk
230 g self-raising flour
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
125 g salted butter, melted and cooled slightly
Preheat the oven to 160°C . Grease a 23 x 30 cm slab tin, 6 cm deep. Line the base with baking paper and then grease again.
To make the honey caramel
Melt the butter, brown sugar and honey together. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute, whisking.
Pour into the base of the tin.
Cut each pear half into four slices, and place them decoratively over the caramel.
To make the cake
Using hand-held beaters or a stand mixer, beat all the cake ingredients for 2 minutes.
Spoon the batter over the pears, then carefully level the mixture with a spatula, leaving it just slightly concave in the middle.
Bake for 30–40 minutes, or until a metal skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Allow to stand for 5 minutes before turning the cake out onto a wire rack; the pears will be on top. Position a plate underneath the rack so that it sits under the cake. (This way any spilled caramel can be retrieved by spooning it up and over the cake.)
Heat the extra honey in a small saucepan until warmed through and runny, then spoon over the cake.
Cool the cake for 15 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.
Images and text from The Comfort Bake by Sally Wise, photography by Samuel Shelley. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.