Red Wine-Pear Cardamom Cake
This fragrant, fruity cake is a riff on Marian Burros’s original plum torte, one of The New York Times’ most popular recipes. But instead of plums, this buttery, moist cake (here, spiked with a little cardamom and citrus zest) is topped with pears that have been sautéed in red wine and butter. Like the original, it’s good served both plain, or with whipped cream or sour cream on the side.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 1 ¼cups/296 milliliters dry red wine
- 2to 3 pears, not too ripe (1 pound), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/2-inch thick (2 cups sliced pears)
- 2tablespoons/28 grams unsalted butter
- 1to 2 tablespoons/12 to 25 grams granulated sugar
- ½cup/113 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
- ¾cup/150 grams granulated sugar
- 2large eggs, at room temperature
- 1teaspoon baking powder
- 1teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest
- ¼teaspoon fine sea or table salt
- 1cup/125 grams all-purpose flour
- Confectioners’ sugar, for serving (optional)
Step 1Prepare the pears: Pour the wine into a large skillet and place it over medium-high heat. Let simmer until it reduces by half, 5 to 8 minutes.
Step 2Add the pears, butter and sugar (use less sugar if your pears are very sweet). Let simmer until the pears absorb the wine and caramelize, 7 to 10 minutes. All the liquid should be gone. Spoon pears into a bowl and let cool while you prepare the cake batter.
Step 3Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the cake: Butter an 8- or 9-inch springform pan. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, or a bowl and wooden spoon, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 to 6 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add the baking powder, cardamom, citrus zest and salt, and beat until smooth. Beat in flour until well combined.
Step 4Scrape batter into the pan and smooth the top. Lay the pear slices on top of the cake. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (the 9-inch pan bakes faster than the 8-inch). The top should be light golden, and the crumb should spring back when lightly pressed with a finger.
Step 5Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with a little confectioners’ sugar, if you like. Cake will keep in the refrigerator for 24 hours; bring to room temperature before serving.