This recipe came about as the result of a conversation concerning a certain muffin (I actually think they call them ‘baby cakes’) from local Vancouver mini-chain, Terra Breads. The confection in question is something that can only be described as a symphony of apple and cardamom. Baked in charming brown paper sleeves and delicately perfumed with the alluring musk of cardamom, they are a real treat.
If you aren’t familiar with cardamom, here it is:
It’s sort of an ugly little pod, but quite delicious. It’s related to the ginger family and has a somewhat similar pungency to it. Wikipedia has a lot to say about it here. You can easily find both green or black (shown here) varieties. I am less familiar with the black cardamom so I thought I’d try it this time. In hindsight, I’d say that the two are very, very similar, but the black variety is less floral, and more smoky. It’s one of those flavours that once you have it, you won’t forget it, but it’s almost impossible to describe. Either way, it is the perfect match for the soft pears in this cake and of course, the almost magical muffins from Terra Breads.
So why not just go get one? Well, you certainly could. I certainly could have, but I enjoy the challenge of recreating and reinventing recipes. The reinvention here is threefold: 1) It’s a cake, not muffins 2) I used pear not apple 3) I used a trio of spices, one of which was cardamom, so this is less of a punch to the face in terms of cardamom flavour. All that said, this is a quick and easy cake to make (I didn’t even pull out the mixer! Mixed by hand, imagine that!) and requires no frosting or adornment besides a pretty dusting of powdered sugar — but you’d be forgiven if you plopped a cloud of whipped cream on it, or even a drizzle of caramel.
I won’t tell. Your secrets are safe with me.
Pear & Cardamom Bundt Cake
Inspired by the Apple and Cardamom Baby-Cake from Terra Breads
preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Core and chop 3 large, ripe pears (about 3 cups of fruit)
2 Cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cardamom
In a second bowl, cream together
2/3 C. butter – softened to room temperature
1 1/2 C. sugar
Once creamed, beat in
2 whole eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. milk
Add the dry ingredients to the butter, egg and sugar mix.
Stir in the chopped pear.
Scrape (the batter will be thick) into a greased and floured bundt pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until risen brown and a skewer or toothpick inserted into it comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Invert the pan onto the rack and the cake should drop out. Allow to cool fully before cutting.