Saturday, October 5, 2013

Spiced Buttermilk Cake with Pears


Last week my mom left to go overseas for a few months. I’ve lived alone before but it’s always an adjustment to do all the housework, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning the mess in the kitchen. I can be very lazy with meals, especially after a long workday, sometimes I’ll just make do with a bowl of cereal and soy milk and peanut butter out of the jar for dessert. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen too often, I’m usually more motivated and cook things that I really like, such as falafels with sriracha mayo, sweet potato mash with hot Italian sausages and kale, and cheesy mushroom toasts with saut√©ed brussel sprouts.


It’s hard to balance a full-time job, eating healthy (when I'm not scooping out said peanut butter from the jar), while squeezing in time for sleep and exercise. It’s a bigger challenge because I drive everywhere for work, at least 60-90 minutes one way. When my mom is here she makes me take a nap when I get home from work as she prepares dinner (Am I spoiled? Yes, very much). Now every weekend I look forward to baking. It feels so good to be in the kitchen, measuring flour, mixing batter, and less than a hour later, opening the oven to a hot blast of sweet cake. I haven’t been baking in a while and wanted to make something easy. 


This cake is very moist, thanks to the buttermilk; it’s unlike the airy cakes that come from creaming butter and sugar. It has the texture that a muffin should be, erring between a cake and sweet bread. I used cinnamon, ginger and all-spice to add more flavor and topped the cake with sliced pears to beautify it. Next time though, I’d add more sliced pears to the middle of the cake; cooked pears are so delicious. I couldn’t resist a little icing sugar to dust on top, I’m not a big fan of thick, heavy frostings anyway. Like I said, it’s nice to get my baking hands working again, I’ve missed it over the summer.




Spiced Buttermilk Cake with Pears
Adapted from Super Natural Everyday: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen by 
Heidi Swanson

Why stop at pears? Heidi nudges berries into her batter, you could also used sliced apples or stone fruits to adorn the cake.

Ingredients
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup oat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon 
¼ teaspoon ground all-spice
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup butter, melted until brown and cooled
Zest of 1 medium lemon
½ a medium-sized pear sliced into ¼-inch wedges (I like Anjou pears and make sure yours is still firm)
3 tablespoons large grain raw sugar

Preparation
Preheat oven to 375F degrees with racks in the middle. Line a 9 X 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon and all-spice, sugar and salt in a large bowl. In a separate smaller bowl whisk together the eggs and the buttermilk, whisk in the melted butter, and the lemon zest. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the flour mixture and stir until just combined (do not over mix).

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Gently nudge in the pear slices diagonally into the top of the batter, leaving about ¼ of the fruit peaking out. Sprinkle with the large grain sugar. Bake for 40-60 minutes or until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. 





Recipe here!

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