Pear cake sounds like a good thing, but when you add caramel sauce, it becomes a great thing! This pear cake was born out of my constant mission to use up all the old stuff in my pantry, which in this case, was polenta. I had a box of polenta in there from last year. I don’t particularly like polenta, so I was trying to figure out how to use it without just eating it normally. That’s when the stars aligned.
My friends at Melissa’s Produce sent me a sample of their new organic home delivery boxes. Think CSA but slightly more customized. Mine included a ton of citrus fruit, pears, apples and avocados. Seeing as I’d been traveling quite a bit, all the citrus went directly into my body to combat catching a cold. That left me with apples, pears and avocados. Well, The Hubs and I eat avocados daily so that was no biggie, and the apples made delicious afternoon snacks, but the pears just sat there. I love pears, but for some reason, they’re not something I reach for when I want a snack.
The final piece of the pear cake puzzle was a super cool individual slice cake pan The Hubs bought me for Christmas. I hadn’t used it yet, but it was calling my name from the cabinet.
polenta+pears+cool cake pan=pear cake
I bet you didn’t know I was so good at math.
This cake turned out great! The cake pan worked like a charm, and all the slices were perfect and golden brown. I just felt like it was missing a little something. I had actually bought vanilla ice cream that I planned to eat with it, but forgot it was in the freezer, so I took a cue from my friend Jen’s classic holiday dessert, pear pie with caramel sauce, and whipped up a caramel sauce of my own.
Oh yes. Perfection.
- 1¼ c. all purpose flour
- 1 c. sugar
- ½ c. cornmeal
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅔ c. buttermilk
- ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. Gourmet Garden fresh ginger
- zest of ½ lemon
- 3 pears, diced
- 1 c. packed brown sugar
- ½ c. half & half
- 4 T. butter
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Coat an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray; line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Coat paper with cooking spray. Set aside. **or use an individual slice cake pan sprayed with cooking spray
- Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk, oil, and eggs stirring well with a whisk. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring until moist.
- Stir in vanilla, ginger and lemon zest
- Fold in diced pears
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
- Mix the brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Whisk constantly for 5 to 7 minutes, until it gets thicker.
- Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further.
- Turn off the heat, cool slightly, then refrigerate until thick.
- Pour over cake and enjoy
If you want to learn how you can have boxes of organic fruits and vegetable shipped directly to your house from Melissa’s, check out their site HERE
If you want to get your own super awesome individual slice cake pan, you can buy one HERE
Caramel sauce not for sale.