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Cardamom Cake with Pears and White Chocolate

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A visually-stunning cake, with whole poached pears and warm cardamom notes

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  • Serves 4

Ingredients

For the pears:
  • 3 medium-sized crisp, firm pears (such as Bosc), peeled but whole, with the stem left on
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle dry white wine
  • 1¼ cups (250 g) sugar
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
For the cake:
  • 1½ cups plus 2 tbsp (200 g) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cups (200 g) self-rising flour
  • 1 generous tbsp ground cardamom
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 oz (90 g) white chocolate, in chunks

You will need:

  • 9x5inch (1.5l) loaf pan

Preparation

  1. Poach the pears: In a large saucepan, combine the pears, wine, sugar, cloves, star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon and poach for 30 minutes over low heat

  2. Take the pears out of the liquid and set aside to cool. Add 2 ½ cups (500 ml) water to the poaching liquid and boil to reduce the liquid by half. Let cool

  3. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F (170°C)

  4. Using a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy. Beat in the eggs one at the time. Don’t add a new egg until the previous one is incorporated

  5. Sift the flour, cardamom, and salt over the batter and fold it in

  6. Grease a 9-by-5-inch (1.5 l) loaf pan and line it with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper

  7. Spoon the batter into the pan. Press the pears in, stem end up. Bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake part comes out clean

  8. Allow to cool in the pan, then gently remove the cake from the pan to a rack to cool completely

  9. Very carefully melt the chocolate: Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir the chocolate in the bowl until melted. Using a spoon, drizzle the chocolate over the cake and create nice stripes on top

  10. Let the chocolate dry for a bit and serve the cake in thick slices, with the reduced pear syrup poured on top

This recipe is take from Yvette Van Boven's book, Homemade Winter.