This cake was just calling for all of the Bosc pears that I’ve received in my CSA share recently. I love it when I have all of the ingredients readily available to make a special treat. 🙂
As a side note, I don’t really understand the idea of a “snacking” cake. This is definitely a CAKE. The brown butter glaze was absolutely essential and absolutely fabulous. Yes, it was easy to eat and, yes, it’s not a fancy layer cake. I also suppose it would be a wonderful snack! We enjoyed it for dessert. 😉
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I incorporated whole wheat pastry flour and decreased the amount of fresh nutmeg. I also omitted the nuts. Delicious!
For the Cake:
- 1 cup/227 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature, more to grease the pan
- 1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup/100 grams dark brown sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground clove
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 to 4 large pears (2 1/4 pounds/1 kilogram), peeled, cored and shredded or finely chopped (to yield 2 1/2 cups) (I finely chopped the prepared pears in a mini-food processor.)
- 2 ¾ cups/350 grams all-purpose flour (I used 175 g all-purpose flour & 175 g whole wheat pastry flour)
- ¾ cup/75 grams rolled oats
- ½ cup toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped, optional
For the Brown Butter Glaze:
- 5 tablespoons/70 grams unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons/25 grams dark brown sugar
- 1 cup/125 grams confectioners’ sugar
- 3 tablespoons/45 milliliters heavy cream or milk, more as needed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of coarse salt
- Prepare the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-2-inch square or 9-inch-round pan and line bottom with parchment paper. (I used cooking oil spray.)
- Using a stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add sugars, baking powder, salt, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves and baking soda and beat for 1 minute.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time.
- With the mixer on low, beat in half the pears, and then beat in the flour until smooth.
- Beat in remaining pears, then the oats, beating until well incorporated.
- Beat in nuts, if using.
- Spread batter in the prepared pan and bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed in the center of the cake, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Prepare the glaze: In a small saucepan, melt butter, then let it simmer until the foam on top falls to the bottom of the pot and turns brown, about 3 minutes. It will smell nutty and rich when it’s ready.
- Whisk in brown sugar until it dissolves.
- Whisk in confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla and salt until you’ve got a thick glaze with the texture of hot fudge sauce.
- Spread this over the cooled cake. Let the glaze set for at least 2 hours before serving.
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