Treat of the Week: Dutch PearBerry Cake

Winter dug its heels in deep this week.  Our temperatures dropped dramatically and we even got a little snow (rare for these parts).  Fortunately, I have plenty of stuff in my pantry and plenty of test items to bake for the bakery site launch in a few weeks.  I love that winter gives you even more cause to fire up the oven.  And what a treat to enjoy a just-baked, warm treat. 

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For our treat this week, I wanted to offer up something that could be easily prepared and utilizes few ingredients that would be ready during the winter.  I decided upon Dutch PearBerry Cake.  This recipe was adapted from the Dutch Apple Cake recipe in Rachel Allen’s book, Bake.  The basic cake recipe is wonderful and I highly recommend trying it with pears and cranberries, but you could certainly substitute other fruit.  The cake itself is moist yet spongy.  The texture reminds me of a good pineapple upside down cake.  Deliciousness!

savour… fresh from the oven

Get the rest after the jump…

Dutch PearBerry Cake

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Before you start:

There are many versions of Dutch cake out there.  This one works great.  The method is simple and the results are exceptional.

While you can substitute other fruits, it is important to cut them into thin or small pieces.  Extra big pieces or apricot halves, for example, might yield too much moisture in one spot ruining your cake.

This is delicious served with ice cream while it is still slightly warm.  However, it is equally good cold and on its own.

If your pear is not large enough you may have to use two small ones.

If you cannot find superfine sugar you can put granulated sugar through a grinder for several seconds.  The result should be fine sugar, but not powdered sugar.

Assemble your ingredients in advance.  It is important that you be ready to add fruit as soon as you pour in batter.  You want the cake in the oven as soon as possible.  The baking soda begins its work as soon as you add moisture.

Take care in adding the butter to the mixer while it is running or you will wear more than you eat.

Don't be alarmed when the fruit sinks to the bottom.  That is intentional.

It is important to let the cake cool some before removing it from the pan.  It also “sets” up a bit during this time making it easier to remove and cut without crumbling.

The ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) superfine sugar, plus ½ ounce for sprinkling on top /170g
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ½ ounces milk
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 4 ½ ounces (scant cup) all purpose flour /125g
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder /8g
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large pear thinly sliced
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The method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare an 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan by lining with parchment paper. 
  3. Fold a sheet of parchment paper over from corner to opposite side forming a triangle.  Cut excess away leaving a triangle.  Unfold the triangle revealing a “perfect” square.
  4. Set your pan in the center of the square and cut from each tip to the corner of the pan.
  5. Insert the parchment into the pan.  The corners should occur naturally.  Leave any excess to use as a handle when you are ready to pull the cake out.
  6. Sift together flour and baking powder in a bowl.  Hand whisk to make sure baking powder is evenly distributed.  Set aside.
  7. Melt butter with milk in a small saucepan over medium heat just until butter is melted.  Remove from heat and let it cool while you move on to next step.
  8. Place the eggs, 6 ounces of sugar, and vanilla in a bowl.  Mix on high with your whisk attachment, if applicable, until the mixture is thick and resembles a mousse (about 5 minutes).
  9. With mixer still whisking, pour melted butter into the eggs.  Add the orange zest and mix until incorporated.
  10. Remove mixer and sift in flour/baking soda.  Gently fold so that no flour lumps are present.
  11. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth out.
  12. Sprinkle dried cranberries generously over top of the batter.
  13. Place pear slices in rows overlapping slightly as you go.
  14. Press down just a touch on pears to even them out.
  15. Sprinkle the remaining ½ ounce of sugar over the pears.
  16. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
  17. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake until risen and golden brown (20-25 minutes).
  18. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack for at least 20 min.
  19. Use the parchment paper to pull the cake from the pan.  Pull the paper from the cake and cut into squares. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and/or serve with ice cream.
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