My Recipe Box

Pear Ginger Cake with Whipped Cream and Rum-Caramel Glaze

RATE IT

Serves sixteen.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 102

It’s a triple-decker stunner that features a soft, tender cake with fresh pears and homemade ginger folded into the batter, and a billowy whipped cream filling and frosting. All is topped with luscious rum-caramel glaze.

For the cake
  • 12 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pans
  • 1 lb. 2 oz. (4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 4-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 lb. firm-ripe Anjou or Bartlett pears (about 2 small pears), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 5 oz. (1 cup) finely chopped Candied Ginger 
  • 1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
For the caramel glaze
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. dark rum
  • Pinch of kosher salt
For the whipped cream
  • 6 cups heavy cream
  • 7 oz. (2 cups) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2-1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) coarsely chopped Candied Ginger for garnish
Make the cake

Position racks in the bottom and top thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Butter three 9x2-inch round cake pans and line each with a parchment round. Butter the parchment.

In a large bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Using stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.

On low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three increments, alternating with the milk in two increments, starting and ending with the flour. Beat on low speed between each addition until just incorporated. The batter will be thick and fluffy. Stir in the pears, candied ginger, and vanilla.

Divide the batter evenly among the three prepared pans. Level the batter with a spatula. Set two pans on the top rack and the third on the lower rack. Stagger the pans on the oven racks so that no pan is directly over another. Bake, swapping and rotating the pans’ positions after 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool on racks for 30 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks, remove the parchment, and cool completely.

Make the caramel glaze

Fill a cup measure with water and put a pastry brush in it. In a heavy-duty 3-quart saucepan, stir the sugar, lemon juice, and 1/3 cup cold water. Brush down the sides of the pan to wash away any sugar crystals. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan, until the mixture starts to color around the edges, 5 to 8 minutes. Gently swirl the pan once to even out the color and prevent the sugar from burning in isolated spots so that the sugar caramelizes evenly. Brush down the sides of the pan if the sugar threatens to burn. Continue to cook until the sugar turns medium amber, about 30 seconds more. (Once the mixture begins to color, it will darken very quickly so keep an eye on it.)

Reduce the heat to low and carefully stir in the butter. It will bubble up. Keep stirring until the bubbles settle down, then add the cream a couple of tablespoons at a time, stirring to combine after each addition. Continue stirring until the caramel is smooth, about 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the rum and salt. Strain the caramel through a fine sieve into a heatproof measuring cup to remove any small pieces of sugar. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. You should have about 1-2/3 cups.

Make the whipped cream

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and a cold bowl, whip the cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, raise the speed to medium high, and continue to whip until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes more. Raise the speed to high until the cream forms stiff peaks and is very thick, about 30 seconds more.

Assemble the cake

Put a cake layer on a flat serving platter or a cake stand lined with strips of waxed paper to keep it clean while icing. Top the layer with 2 cups of the whipped cream, spreading it evenly with a metal cake spatula almost to the cake’s edge. Put the next cake layer over the filling and spread 2 more cups of the whipped cream over it. Top with the last cake layer and thickly coat the sides and top of the cake with the remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes.

Glaze the cake

Slowly pour the glaze over the top of the cake, making sure that it covers the top and drizzles down the sides (some of the whipped cream frosting should show through the drizzles on the sides).

Press the coarsely chopped candied ginger pieces in a 1-inch band around the base of the cake for decoration. Remove the waxed paper strips.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours before serving.

Photo: Scott Phillips

This cake is far too dense and 'stodgy' for a layered cake application. Though the flavor is okay, it should be used in a fluted ring pan or as a single-layer cake. In addition the whipped cream is just trying to create something that isn't meant to be. Serve the whipped cream along side, and the caramel sauce on top. The amount of baking powder is ridiculous! It doesn't make the cake rise any higher and overall the ratio of baking powder cake mixture is excessive according to baking standards. This recipe really should be retested and does not play up to my expectations of fine cooking.

This cake tastes DEVINE. The pear is subtle and fresh and the flavours work well. That being said, I found the recipe just too big, too sweet, and too much. Three layers of this already huge / dense cake was overkill and all the whipped cream is off putting. I will make this again, but I will make only one layer and dollop the the cream and drizzle the caramel glaze.

This cake was a bit heavier than I was hoping for, but got RAVE reviews. Not to mention that it is a spectacular feast for the eyes. It is time consuming, but worth the effort for a special occasion. My only problem came when trying to cut it; after about 1/2 the cake was cut, the layers started to slide around because of the whipped cream. If I did this again, I would pierce the cake in a few places with bamboo skewers to help it remain together while cutting. Enjoy!

The cake was very good but dense. The problem with a recipe like this is that you need to eat it within a very short period of time. I'd suggest doing what I did which is to make the cake in a sheet pan and then serve the whipped cream & caramel glaze separately. People can get as much as they want and the leftovers can be enjoyed over the next few days. Also, grind up candied ginger in your food processor and add it to the whipped cream.

It was ok- very sweet though. I was surprised with how dense the cake was. It is very heavy. My guests said that they enjoyed it, I, however, will not be making it again

Very good, and not difficult to make, but I found it to have a consistency of poundcake a little more than I expected. Everyone who had a slice raved about it, even though it isn't my favorite.

I made this cake for my girlfriends and it was a hit! The cake was moist and delicious! I will be making this cake again for future occasions.

This is an amazing cake. It was made for my birthday and was very tasty. IT has a delicious white cake batter wit small chunks of pear that give a boost of flavour with every bite, and the whip cream frosting is amazing and light, also the butterscotch pored over the top of the cake makes each bite a new experience. not only that, but the butterscotch is not very sweet which was unexpected of that genre of flavour. one last thing is that THIS cake is HUGE! three 9x9 cakes staked with thick layers of whipped cream in-between have fun and enjoy

This cake tastes as spectacular as it looks. It's a nice change from chocolate when you're looking for a showstopping cake.

header

MEET THE CHEFS FROM SEASON ONE

Cookbooks, DVDs & More