I moved! I’m pretty exhausted after two fairly intense days, one of moving and one of doing lots of induction things at uni. Next week is even busier, so somewhere between endless induction events and all the reading I have to do I’ll have to find the time to bake. I’m still trying to work out my schedule and this is the first time it’s really occurred to me that I have spent the last two months being unemployed, so I haven’t exactly been used to having things to do, and now I have a lot to do, so there’ll definitely be a period of adjustment.
Today I’m visiting my house in Cambridge for the last time. I’ll miss it there – the majority of everything I’ve written about on here was baked in the kitchen there, so if I’m not feeling sad then I’m definitely feeling reflective. But I have an equally good kitchen here in Norwich, so we’ll just keep going I guess. I didn’t get to eat either of the last cakes I baked in the Cambridge kitchen though – I made a Guinness cake for my dad to say thank you for helping me move, and then I made a pear and maple syrup cake which I gave to Oli to share with his colleagues because he likes creating goodwill in the workplace.
Being in the midst of moving when I baked it, I had packed up most of my cupboards, and I realised when I went rifling through boxes that I had in fact run out of maple syrup, but I did have a small quantity of golden syrup left, so I used that instead. It probably didn’t taste quite as good – I can’t be sure, but it appeared to work well as a substitute. The quantity of pear appears to outweigh the amount of cake batter, but once baked it looked really good.
Next week: Sticky Toffee Pudding (I desperately want cold enough autumn weather to make this be like a warming pudding for a chilly evening)
Pear and Maple Syrup Cake (from Tender vol.II by Nigel Slater)
50g golden caster sugar
50g light brown muscovado sugar
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the pears
450g ripe pears
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp maple syrup (or golden syrup)
1. Grease and line a deep 20cm baking tin with greaseproof paper. Peel, core and chop the pears into roughly 1cm cubes. Put them in a shallow pan with the butter and cinnamon and let them soften for 10-12 mins over a moderate heat, stirring from time to time. Pour in the maple syrup, let the mixture bubble up briefly then remove from heat. The pears should be sticky and deep golden.
2. Set the oven at 180C/Gas 4. Beat together the butter and sugars until pale and thick. Sift the flour and baking powder together. Add the almonds to the flour. Beat the eggs and milk in a small bowl, then add to the butter and sugar a little at a time, alternating with the flour and almonds. Stir in the vanilla extract.
3. Tip in the mixture into the cake tin and smooth the top. Spoon the pears and any remaining syrup over the mixture. They will gradually sink on cooking to make a sticky layer further down.
4. Bake for 40 mins or until golden and lightly firm. Serve warm in thick slices, with cream and a little more maple syrup.