At first glance, I know that it looks like there are loads of ingredients in this recipe. BUT...It is designed to have elements that you can mix & match; the poached pears, candied dust & whipped cream are interchangeable in other recipes. For simplicity, simple make the base cake then add on as you desire.
For the ‘poached pears’
1 cup water
1 tbsp coconut sugar
2 cinnamon sticks (can swap with ½ tsp ground cinnamon)
5 cloves (can swap with ¼ tsp ground cloves)
½ tbsp vanilla essence
2 large pears (or 3 small)
For the ‘cake’ mixture
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 cup apple puree
1/3 cup rice malt syrup
1 tbsp vanilla essence
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup crystallised ginger, finely sliced
1/3 cup coconut sugar + 1 tbsp extra
1 2/3 cup gluten free SR Flour
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
2 tbsp chia seeds 2 tsp bicarb soda
For the ‘candied dust’
1/3 cup insecticide free Australian walnuts
3 tsp coconut sugar
2 tsp coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt
2 tsp water
1 tsp freshly chopped rosemary (optional)
For the ‘whipped cream’ mixture
(*Note: Serve simply with a dollop of coconut yoghurt if dairy free)
1 cup Barambah natural yoghurt
½ cup Maleny Dairies Cream
1 tbsp rice malt syrup
1 vanilla bean or ½ tbsp vanilla essence
Optional: fresh berries to serve
To Make the Poached Pears
Prepare the poached pears by combining the water, required coconut sugar, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla essence in a medium pot and bringing to the boil. Halve the pears and remove stems and core. Reserve one of the halves.
Cut the remaining pear into approx. ½ cm slithers. Place pear into poaching water and simmer for 5 minutes or until pear has softened a little but is not mushy. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of coconut sugar on the bottom of the cake tin, then carefully arrange pears in an attractive display (we suggest placing large pear half in centre and working around, taking care to face pear skin outwards).
To Make the Cake
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, oil, apple puree, vanilla essence, nutmeg and cinnamon and beat with electric beaters until smooth.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the crystallised ginger, 1/3 cup coconut sugar, gluten free flour, brown rice flour, desiccated coconut, chia seeds and bicarb soda with a whisk until well combined. Using your electric beaters on a low setting, slowing combine the wet and dry mixtures until uniform and creamy.
Pour batter slowly over pear topping and bake for 40 minutes, or until skewer is removed clean. (Note: This is a dense cake so should be moist but not runny in the centre.)
To Make the Candied Dust
Prepare a shallow tray with a line of baking paper and put the tiny amount of water to the side. Place the walnuts, oil, coconut sugar and sea salt into a medium frypan and bring to med-high heat. Stir continuously until the sugar has mostly melted but is not burning (this should only take a minute or two).
Carefully transfer the hot mixture onto the baking paper and spread thin before immediately dousing with the water. Place the ‘toffee’ mixture in the freezer to set for ten minutes.
Remove mixture from freezer and crack into pieces to transfer into a food processor with the rosemary. Pulse once or twice very briefly – it doesn’t need much at all and you still want some whole, rustic pieces.
To Make the Whipped Cream
Note: Prepare the yoghurt immediately before serving as it will lose its aeration upon extended sitting.
Place all ingredients into a bowl and whip with electric beaters until creamed and fluffy. To Assemble Cake Ensure that cake is cool and set before removing from tin. Unclasp the sides of the cake tin carefully.
With the base still connected to the cake’s pear layer, use a sharp bread knife to cut away any of the centre of the cake that has risen. (This will be the new base of your cake, so it needs to be flat.) Place a flat serving plate, cake tray or board against this base. ‘Sandwich’ this board and the cake tin between your hands as you flip the cake over.
Carefully lift the cake tin base and peel away the baking paper. Voila! You should have a beautiful work of food art. Sprinkle the dust over the cake and garnish with dollops of the yoghurt cream, fresh berries and rosemary sprigs if desired. This cake is especially gorgeous served with bundles of freshly sliced figs.
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