Posted by: Maggie
This cake would be delightful for Christmas morning brunch.
Or, for Christmas Eve dessert.
Or perhaps as a snack for Santa in lieu of cookies?
It doesn't matter what your reason is for making this delicious, moist, lightly spiced cake. Just make it soon, and enjoy it fresh from the oven with a hot cup of coffee or cocoa.
I promise you won't regret it.
Here's what you'll need:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cup peeled, cored, and diced pear (I used about 2 pears to get this amount, but it will depend on the size of your fruit)
1 cup walnuts, toasted, cooled, and finely chopped
Move the oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a bundt pan.
In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high to combine butter, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg yolks 1 at a time and beat well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add in flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in batches, and beat well after each addition. Gently fold in pears and walnuts.
Clean the mixer beaters. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks. Fold whites into the batter gently, but thoroughly.
Transfer batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool in pan, on a rack for 10 minutes, and then invert onto rack.
I topped my cake with the praline topping while it was still warm to help the glaze spread easily, but if you prefer, you can wait for the cake to cool completely.
To make the glaze:
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped, toasted
Stir brown sugar, cream, and butter in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat until smooth. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the walnuts, and carefully pour over the warm cake.
P.S. Here's a photo of (almost) the whole cake. I didn't get a nice pic of the uncut cake because Jeff and I cut into it at night, and by the time I had daylight for photographing it the next day it wasn't so pretty :)
Source: Adapted from Joy the Baker, originally from Gourmet Magazine