Rang in the new year with champagne, cake and plenty of alliteration. # 107: Poached Pear Pound Cake
Happy 2019, friends! Hope you all partied it up in your favorite way – whether that be dancing at a concert, playing boardgames at home, or snuggling up with Netflix. My boardgame night included plenty of sangria and pear cake, followed by champagne and sparklers at midnight!
It was so windy that our little lighter kept getting blown out before the sparklers caught flame. Did we give up and go back inside? Hell no! We pulled out a blowtorch and kept the party going, as any self-respecting sparkler fiend would do.
I’ve been wanting to make like this for a while – with whole fruit hiding in the middle. It’s like a little surprise when you cut in! The only downside was that I didn’t dry the poached pears quite enough so the juices soaked into the pound cake walls, causing them to pull away from the fruit. Cest la vie!
If you think you might have the same issue, just make sure you’re the one to cut and serve it so you can rearrange the slices on each plate so people won’t notice the gaps. Works like a charm!
I used creme fraiche instead of sour cream for the pound cake recipe since I had some on hand. It’s essentially heavy cream that’s been thickened by adding a bacterial culture via another dairy product (yogurt, buttermilk, etc.) As you can guess, it is super rich and fatty (sometimes up to 45% butter fat) but not as acidic as sour cream. If anyone knows more about the chemistry behind creme fraiche, let me know! I still view it slightly as an expensive alternative to sour cream, and I would need convincing to ever purchase it again.
‘Twas a very thick batter. Pound cake is very dense in texture, but it’s not dry. Instead, it’s velvety and decadent.due the to amount of dairy in it. The name originally comes from the fact that bakers would use a pound of each of the four ingredients: flour, eggs, sugar and butter. Using equal amounts is definitely easier! Most modern pound cake recipes call for slightly less butter and replace some of it with another dairy (sour cream, creme fraiche, etc.)
Pear time! Poaching fruit is basically simmering it in flavored juice. You’ll want firm pears since they’ll get soft in their juice bath.
Veggie peeler to the rescue – it leaves the most amount of pear possible. I tried using a sharp knife but it cut away more of the good stuff than I wanted.
All dressed up and no place to go!
My poaching bath was a mix of chardonnay, rose apple cider, ginger simple syrup, cardamom and water. Next time, I’ll use less water and more wine and cider to get a stronger flavor.
I laid a bed of batter, tucked my pears in and snuggled them up with the rest of the batter. Jury is still out on whether a reading it a bedtime story leads to a better bake.
I had the sad realization that I was out of foil when I checked on the cake mid-bake. Sigh. So the top browned more than I wanted it to, but luckily, it just made it crispy and golden. No actual burning!
Oo la la! Pears peeking out.
The best bites are half cake, have pear. Or all pear. Or all cake. I just love it all. This pound cake recipe is definitely being saved for future baking shenanigans.
Cake recipe (swap out sour cream for creme fraiche and add a teaspoon of cardamom) from: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/8388/sour-cream-pound-cake/
Cake inspiration from: https://zoebakes.com/2018/12/28/cardamom-pear-cake/