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Pear Drizzle Cake

This seasonal cake is delightful — find yourself some elderflower cordial and set some pears aside to ripen so you don’t miss out! The dense and velvety, but not heavy, crumb is a perfect foil for the succulent morsels of juicy pear, and the overall effect is not overly sweet. Though it doesn’t need it, you might garnish each slice with a dollop of plain yogurt . . . or, even better, pull out the crème fraîche!

Pear Drizzle Cake

2 pears, peeled, cored, and diced (we like to use Anjou)
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tbs. elderflower cordial
11 oz. all-purpose flour (2½ cups plus 1 tbs.)
1 tsp. baking powder
4 oz. ground almonds (1 cup plus 2 tbs.)
9 fl. oz. canola oil
9 oz. golden caster sugar (1cup plus 2 tbs.)
4 large eggs, 3 separated
1 tsp. vanilla extract
plain yogurt or crème fraîche, to serve (optional)

For the drizzle:

3 tbs. elderflower cordial
zest and juice 1 lemon
4 oz. sugar cubes (32 cubes), bashed with a rolling pin to crumble

Heat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9” ring pan or Bundt pan. Mix the pears with the lemon juice and zest and the elderflower cordial to stop them turning brown. Mix the flour, baking powder, and ground almonds together.

Beat the oil, half the sugar, the whole egg and 3 yolks, and the vanilla with an electric whisk (or the whisk attachment of a standing mixer) until pale and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Stir in the dry ingredients, then stir in the juices from the pear.

Clean the whisk beaters. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add the remaining sugar and beat for 1 minute more until thick again and shiny, the fold into the rest of the cake mixture, at third at a time. Finally, fold in the pear chunks.

Spoon into the greased pan gently to keep the air, and bake on a middle shelf for 45-55 minutes. Insert a skewer into the cake – if it is cooked, it will come out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Use the skewer again to poke holes all over the top of the cake. Mix together the drizzle ingredients and quickly pour all over the cake. Leave to cool – the sugar drizzle will become crunchy. Serve slices plain or with a dollop of plain yogurt or crème fraîche, if you like.

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