This cake should really be called "Sibbie's Cake," instead of the aptly described almond pear cake that it really is. The entire late afternoon I was making this cake, and then styling this scene, and then photographing it, Lady Sybil was patiently sitting nearby, fully alert and attentive, hoping I would drop a crumb or give her a slice. Of course I did not, and at the end I covered the cake with a paper towel and set it on the kitchen counter by the stove to let it continue cooling before packing it up. Later that evening, I left the kitchen/living room for ten minutes to take a shower, and when I came out, my hair still wrapped in a towel, HALF of the cake was missing!! I asked Kyle (who had just gotten home) if he had eaten an abnormally large slice, and he said no, of which then we both looked at each other, and then to Sibbie, who was curled up on her dog bed pretending to be asleep.
Sibbie had jumped to the counter and snatched a large bite (or maybe more than one bite) of this cake! I was more amused than mad, because how clever is she? We packaged up the cake and then put it in the fridge. But later that night we noticed she tried to jump to the counter again to get a second serving of the cake. Lesson learned: don't leave any food on the counter, or else Sibbie will find it and discover a way to inhale it.
The next day was filled with not-so-pleasant experiences, because a buttery, sugary cake and a diet that normally consists of dog food do NOT mix well...
The few slices we managed to salvage were extremely delicious, and what I love about this dessert is the sweetness comes mostly from the pears. There is a crispy edge that comes from the butter and brown sugar mixture, and it is such a nice texture combination with the crunch of the almonds. I had also never used almond extract before, and picked up a bottle of it out of curiosity when we were in NYC last month. What a game changer!!
So, besides taking care of our new child, this week has been extremely productive and pleasant. Today after we both get done with work, we plan to early vote and then take Sibbie to the vet to (hopefully) get her doggie cone off! *Fingers crossed* Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
Spiced Pear and Almond Cake
for the pears
- 3-4 medium pears, sliced lengthwise and cored
- 4 tbl. butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground gingr
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
for the cake
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup finely ground almonds
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- powdered sugar
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a 10 - 11" cast-iron skillet, melt the butter with the brown sugar and spices over medium-high heat. Stir until the paste becomes smooth and everything is mixed together. Remove the pan from the heat, and arrange the halved pears on top of the sugar butter mixture. (You can also slice them in 1/4-inch-thick slices and fan out around perimeter of the skillet.) Set aside.
In a large stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in both extracts. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated. Mix in ground almonds, flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour the batter over the top of the fruit, spreading evenly with a spatula.
Place the skillet in the center of the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the top is golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully invert the cake onto a cake plate, flipping cake upside down. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and a dusting of powdered sugar to your preference. It is best served warm!