Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pear Buttermilk Spice Cake

When I am deciding what to make for dinner, I ask my virtual "friends" (otherwise known as authors of the food blogs that I read so obsessively). I often turn to Molly, whose honesty and humor and photos are always as worth it as her recipes. Recent hits included her homemade marshmallows, and fresh ginger muffins. Luisa led me to Melissa's great recipe for shrimp that you mix with the most marvelous mixture of cumin, coriander, lemon zest and roast with brocolli. I made it with tofu and was in heaven. But Deb leads me most days, especially now that she is also raising a young son. And with her suggestion, I created a twist to her pear cake. It sounded lovely, but I always try to fake myself out by adding white whole wheat flour to baked goods to pretend they are healthier. In that vein, I swapped out some oil for buttermilk. Then, in my new apartment without a box grater (!), I pureed some pear and chopped the rest. Finally, I amped up the spices and reduced the sugar. The result? An apartment that smelled divine and a cake that was so very good.

Pear Buttermilk Spice Cake, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour (I love King Arthur Brand)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp of each: ground ginger, allspice, cardamom, cloves
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or an olive oil/vegetable oil mixture)
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 eggs beaten
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2-4 pears
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease and flour 2 9x5 inch loaf pans or a 10 inch tube pan. Mix the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a mixing bowl Peel, core and grate or chop the pears so that you have 2 cups total. In another bowl, mix the oil, buttermilk, eggs, sugar, pears and vanilla. Mix this into the dry ingredients. Pour into pans and bake at 350 for 60 to 70 minutes until brown. Cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool on a cooling rack.

Store, lightly wrapped in plastic. It is even better on the second day...or third.

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