Mulled Wine and Pear Sticky Ginger Cake

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 4 medium sized firm pears, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 600ml red wine
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • Butter, for greasing
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 225g butter, softened
  • 225g soft brown sugar
  • Grated zest of ½ orange
  • 4 large eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour, sieved
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1 lump of preserved ginger (in syrup), finely chopped

1. Place the pears in a saucepan and pour over the wine.

2. Add the spices and sugar and then bring slowly to the boil.

3. Simmer for 1 minute and then turn the heat off and leave to cool in the wine. Remove and then pat dry with some kitchen towel.

4. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

5. Grease and line a 23 cm spring-form cake tin.

6. Scatter the demerara sugar over the bottom of the cake tin and then arrange the mulled pear quarters in a circular pattern on top.

7. Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest together in a medium mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon or electric whisk, until pale and fluffy.

8. Beat the eggs into the creamed mixture, one at a time. Add 1 teaspoon of flour to the mixture between each addition. This is quite a runny cake mixture so don’t worry. It might even look a bit curdled, but it’s absolutely fine.

9. Using a metal spoon, fold in the rest of the flour, the baking powder, ground ginger, ground almonds and the preserved ginger and pour the mixture over the pears in the cake tin. Spread the mixture evenly in the tin and bake for 30 minutes.

10. After 30 minutes, remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and continue to cook for another 30 minutes.

11. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then turn it out onto a wire rack.

12. Serve simply with some lightly whipped cream, sweetened with a little icing sugar and flavoured with a dash or two of vanilla extract and a glass of the warm mulled wine that the pears were cooked in – it must never go to waste!

Copyright, 2014, Lotte Duncan, all rights reserved

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