I can’t remember if it began because I am pregnant or because I have always been hungry late-morning or because I am always looking for excuses to sit down and eat something small with people I love. But either way, elevenses are officially part of life in the Whitlock house, and I think they are here to stay. Really, it’s one of our favorite things.
This cake is my favorite this autumn. It’s a little nutty and very buttery, and somehow you can’t tell where the almonds end and the butter begins. And those beautiful, soft pears. Though not exactly a “light” cake, it is somehow refreshing this time of year, when cakes and cookies are often dense and heady with spice. I recommend you eat it like this: mostly-warm at the end of a good meal, while it is still impossibly soft with butter. And then again the next day at eleven o’clock, cold and firm with someone you love and a cup of hot earl grey and cream. Or just good milk.
Almond Pear Cake
Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. This recipe is incredibly forgiving. Swap out the all-purpose flour for another, replace the sugar with maple syrup, do what you will fit your needs. I am pretty sure it will still be delicious.
3 pears, peeled and cored and quartered
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon sugar
2/3 c butter, softened (and melted is alright, too, if you haven’t set out the butter, yet, and would like to make cake)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c flour
1/2 c almond meal, or blanched almonds ground in a food processor
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a round 8 inch pan.
Saute the pears in the butter and sugar on the stove until they are just barely soft and quite irresistible. Meanwhile, mix the sugar and butter and then mix in the eggs. Do this with some gusto until the whole mess is fluffy and appealing. Gently stir in the almond meal, flour and baking powder. Spread the batter in the pan. Lay the pear slices on top, and pour any of their nice pan juices over it all. Bake until it is done, which will be about 45 minutes.