Ok, so I’m officially in Christmas mode from now on. I took the plunge yesterday and started listening to Christmas music.. I felt kind of guilty for some reason. Lit candles, clementines and Christmas music is the best way to get myself into the spirit so that’s what I’ve been doing even though it’s still quite early (who am I kidding, bring on the Christmas tree already!).
And obviously, this cake which really is the best cake I’ve had in a while. It might not look like much but, oh, those flavors! Again with the cardamom, I know, but I just can’t help myself. And browned butter, pear and chocolate of course.
This weekend I was lucky enough to have my sweet friend Joann Pai visit me in my little town. We had a really great time together, shooting, talking, eating cake, pancakes, cinnamon buns, Indian food and whatnot. Funny thing is, I’m just so used to working alone that I get kind of nervous when someone is watching me work. I’m almost asking for permission to move things around, like “Ok, so I’m gonna put this here….?”. I’m glad we were able to get some shots of the cake since the weather wasn’t showing its’ best side that day. We were also glad to have this cake, obviously.
PEAR CARDAMOM CAKE
WITH BROWN BUTTER FROSTING & CHOCOLATE GLAZE
Cake recipe adapted from StylesweetCA
1 1/2 cups (225 g) all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 cup (225 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) corn oil or canola oil (I very much prefer corn oil)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup (75 ml) sour cream
1 cup grated pears, drained (about 2 unpeeled pears)
BROWN BUTTER FROSTING
2 sticks (225 g) unsalted butter
2/3 cup (90 g) powdered sugar
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
pinch of salt
3 tbsp heavy cream
3 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp (15 g) butter
1 tbsp cocoa powder
35 g semi sweet or dark chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp cognac (can be omitted and replaced with 1 tbsp heavy cream)
Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease and flour two 5-inch (12-13 cm) cake pans.
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and sugar. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, whisk together oil, egg, egg yolk and sour cream.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until smooth. Add the grated pear.
5. Divide the batter between the cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes (if you’re using a 6-inch pan, start checking around 30 minutes) or until a cake tester comes out clean.
6. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans to cool completely.
BROWN BUTTER FROSTING
1. Place butter in a small saucepan on medium heat and stir until it melts completely.
Continue cooking, stirring frequently until the milk solids turn brown
and the butter smells nutty, about 5-10 minuter longer. Take care not to
burn (it will continue to brown even after you remove it from the heat,
so take it off early).
3. Scrape the melted butter and browned
bits into a small bowl and chill until almost solidified but still soft
enough to be beaten with an electric mixer (about 20-30 minutes in the
freezer, an hour or so in the fridge).
4. Put the butter in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
5. Add the powdered sugar, cardamom and salt and beat until completely smooth and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the cream until frosting is fluffy.
1. If cakes are rounded on top, even out with a knife. Cut both cakes in half using a sharp serrated knife (you’ll end up with four layers). Put the first layer on a cake board or a cake stand.
frosting on the first layer. Add the next layer and repeat until you’ve
used up all four layers
2. Spread frosting all over the cake. If the cake feels unstable, put the cake in the fridge while you prepare the glaze.
1. Put cream, honey, butter and cocoa powder in a sauce pan. Heat until very hot but not boiling. Remove pan from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth. Add the cognac if using.
2. Let glaze cool. If you find that the glaze is too thick to pour when cool, reheat it very carefully – just make sure it’s not warm when you pour it over the cake.
3. Pour glaze over the cake and spread it out with an offset spatula to make sure it runs down the sides.
4. Leave cake in room temperature for 15 minutes before serving to make sure the buttercream isn’t hard.