Pear-Spice Bundt Cake

Serves 12 to 16.

Note: Adapted from “Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook” (Clarkson Potter, 2005) and published in Taste on Jan. 24, 2008. “This is a slight twist on applesauce cake, relying instead on a homemade pear sauce,” writes Stewart. “The cake can be made a day ahead. Keep it at room temperature.” Apples can be substituted for pears, and while Stewart specifies Bartlett pears, Anjou, Comice and Bosc are also suitable. Just before serving, garnish with either a dusting of powdered sugar or the Cream Cheese Glaze (see recipe).

For cake:

• 1/3 c. granulated sugar

• 2 1/2 lb. (about 5) ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes

• 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan

• 3 c. flour, plus more for pan

• 2 tsp. baking powder

• 1 tsp. salt

• 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

• 3/4 tsp. ground cardamom

• 3/4 tsp. ground ginger

• 1/2 tsp. baking soda

• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

• 1 3/4 c. packed dark brown sugar

• 1/4 c. honey

• 4 eggs

• 1/2 c. whole milk

• Powdered sugar for dusting, optional, or Cream Cheese Glaze (see recipe), optional

Directions

In a medium saucepan, spread the granulated sugar in an even layer. Cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until the sugar around the edge of the pan melts and begins to turn golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir until all the sugar has melted and mixture is translucent and golden (alternately, move the sugar around by swirling the pan).

Add pear chunks and stir to coat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until pears are very soft, about 6 to 8 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally. Using a potato masher, mash the pears until they are broken down but still slightly chunky. Continue cooking, covered, 5 minutes more, stirring frequently (the final consistency is thick and somewhat chunky; if liquid remains, keep cooking a few more minutes). Remove from heat, let cool completely, and reserve.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, baking soda, pepper and nutmeg, and reserve.

In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add brown sugar and honey and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the reserved pear sauce and mix to combine, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Do not overmix.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth with a small offset spatula. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until cake is a deep golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes (different pan shapes will yield different baking times). Remove pan from oven and transfer to a wire rack. Cool for 20 minutes, then invert the cake onto a wire rack set over a piece of wax or parchment paper. Cool completely.

Once cake is cool and ready to serve, dust with powdered sugar. Alternately, pour the Cream Cheese Glaze (see recipe) over the top of the cake, letting some drip down the sides.

Nutrition information per each of 16 servings without glaze:

Calories 370

Fat 13 g

Sodium 275 mg

Carbohydrates 61 g

Saturated fat 8 g

Added sugars 32 mg

Protein 5 g

Cholesterol 80 mg

Dietary fiber 3 g

Exchanges per serving: ½ fruit, 1 starch, 2 ½ carb, 2½ fat.

 

Cream Cheese Glaze

Makes enough for 1 (10-in.) Bundt cake.

Note: From “Martha’s Stewart’s Baking Handbook.”

• 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

• 1/2 c. powdered sugar, sifted to remove lumps

• Pinch of salt

• 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 3 tbsp. milk, plus more if needed

Directions

In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low, add the powdered sugar, and beat until combined, about 2 minutes. Add the salt, lemon juice and milk, and mix until smooth. If the glaze is too thick to drizzle, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Nutrition information per each of 16 servings:

Calories 40 Fat 2 g Sodium 34 mg

Carbohydrates 4 g Saturated fat 1 g Added sugars 4 g

Protein 1 g Cholesterol 7 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Exchanges per serving: ½ fat.