When I wake up on November mornings, the house is quiet and dark as we are now into the darkest part of the year. There is no snow to reflect the light and so it is even darker than the shortest days of mid-winter. I often light candles and we eat breakfast in the soft light. There is a large window that faces the road in the dining area and I like to think that if someone drives by they will see the light and maybe it will help their day to a good start as well.
Something about the darkness ignites a desire for gingerbread and it is a task that the kids love to help with.
In my kitchen on the wall between the kitchen and dining area is a painting to brighten the bleak days of November. It is painted by my Grampa, Jim Wuollet and it is one of my treasured possessions. The Anemones provides a beautiful contrast to the misty scene outside.
Father’s day is celebrated in November here and this succulent cake could be the perfect choice for Dad this Sunday. We will try to make breakfast as quiet as possible on that morning, even though I’m quite sure that with six kids he will hear the sounds coming from the kitchen. He will just have to pretend to be asleep as we tiptoe up the stairs, as it is important for the kids to be able to wake him up. It is a part of the ritual.
The recipe below makes a cake fairly similar to the one I ate at Fleuriste a few weeks ago. The one alteration is that the recipe below is made with almond flour and therefore is gluten-free. The original recipe is from the great blog Momma’s Gotta Bake to which I made some alterations adding figs and chocolate and even a little rose water for flavor.
25 cm/10 inch springform pan, lined and sprayed
3 pears, one for the batter and one for on top
generous 4 dl / 1 and 3/4 c sugar + 3 tsp
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
7.7 dl/3 and 1/4 c ground almond meal
8 eggs at room temperature
1 tsp rose water + 1/4 tsp
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp oil
100 g/3.5 oz fig (fresh or dried) cut into slices
80 g/2.8 oz dark chocolate cut into chunks
Peel and core the pears cutting two of them into chunks and the third into slices. Place the pear chunks into a small sauce pan along with the lemon juice and three teaspoons of sugar. Allow to simmer on medium heat for about ten minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Mash the pears with a fork after cooling. Meanwhile place the almond meal and sugar into your stand mixer with the paddle attachment in place. (You may also use a food processor for this) After mixing the almond meal and sugar add one egg in at a time, whipping strongly after each addition. Add in the rose water. If rose water is not available you may use vanilla extract. Fold in the roughly mashed pears into the batter.
In a separate small pot or pan, heat the oil, honey and rose water just until it bubbles. Turn off the heat and add in the third sliced pear so that the slices are coated with the honey mixture.
Pour the batter in to the lined and sprayed springform pan. Stick the slices of figs and chunks of chocolate into the batter and lay the honey-coated pear slices on top in a pinwheel shape. My pears did not stay on top, rather they sunk through the batter. It didn’t affect the flavour, just the appearance.
Bake the cake at 175 C/350 F on the middle rack of the oven for about 55-65 minutes or until a skewer comes clean when poked into the center of the cake. I covered the cake for the last 15 minutes of bake time to prevent it from becoming too dark. Remove from the oven and spoon the rest of the honey mixture over the cake. Allow to cool for a half hour before removing the sides.
I was racing the clock as it was already getting quite dark outside and so I cut a slice before the thirty minutes were up. It cut beautifully even if it was still warm. And it tasted even better than it looked.
Happy Father’s day to all of the special Dad’s and Grampa’s near and far.
This post is a part of Celia’s, In my Kitchen series at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial