Here’s an opportunity for me to hide some whole pears in a cake. I can’t pass this up. The “Hidden Pear Cake,” from Benjamina Ebuehi’s The New Way to Cake, surprises me with more than just pears.

Hidden Pear Cake
The New Way to Cake

3 1/8 cups ginger beer
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
2 cinnamon sticks
2 cardamom pods
3 small Conference or Bosc pears, peeled with stems intact

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. molasses
½ cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 2-lb. loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang of 1 inch to help you lift the cake out when it’s baked.

To make the poached pears, add the ginger beer, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom to a large pot. Add the pears and simmer until they are tender enough for a fork to pierce them with a little force, 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how ripe the pears are. Remove the pears from the liquid and set aside.

To make the cake, sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside. Using a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the molasses until smooth. With the mixer on low, pour in half of the flour followed by the milk and beat briefly to combine. Pour in the rest of the flour before adding the vanilla and ginger.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Slice the base off each pear to make sure it can sit upright without falling. Place the pears in the batter, gently pushing them in. Bake the cake for 15 minutes before opening the oven to gently straighten the pears if they have fallen. Bake for 50 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 30 minutes before lifting it from the pan to cool completely.

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The recipe says to use a “large pot” to poach the three pears, but I opted for a smaller pot, so the pears would be able to submerge in less than a whole bottle of ginger beer. I wanted to see them float. Smell the cinnamon and the other warm spices as the pears poach.

My batter was way-too-thick to “pour.” But I fit it into my pan just fine.

Straightening the pears” after 15 minutes of baking was a sensible idea. I needed to bake this cake for a long 80 minutes, before my tester came out clean.

So, how does it taste? Like soft pound cake, with bits of crystallized ginger. But then, you get to bite into the silky poached pear. It’s a surprising treat that will make you happy (and it’s not difficult to accomplish).

Each month The Cake Slice Bakers are offered a selection of cakes from the current book we are baking through. This year it is The New Way To Cake by Benjamina Ebuehi. We each choose one cake to bake, and then on the 20th - never before - we all post about our cake on our blogs. There are a few rules that we follow, but the most important ones are to have fun and enjoy baking & eating cakes!

Follow our Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages where you can find all of our cakes, as well as inspiration for many other cakes. You can also click on the thumbnail pictures below to take you to each of our cakes. If you have a blog and are interested in joining The Cake Slice Bakers and baking along with us, please send an email to thecakeslicebakers at gmail dot com for more details.

The Cake Slice Bakers also have a new Facebook group called The Cake Slice Bakers and Friends. This group is perfect for those who do not have a blog but want to join in the fun and bake through this book.

It is a new year and a new book - The New Way To Cake - and our choices for February 2020 were:

Hidden Pear Cake

Cardamom Cake with Mulled Wine Jam

Flourless Chocolate-Chili Cake