Fresh Ginger Cake With Caramelized Pears

I often get asked about the name of this blog, Chocolate & Tea. The Chocolate part makes sense; this is a baking blog after all. Every other recipe seems to feature chocolate as a component. My addiction to all things dark and bittersweet is not so secret. But why Tea, I am asked. What does tea have to do with anything?

The answer to that is simple. The Tea in Chocolate & Tea represents tea time. That wonderful moment mid-afternoon when productivity lowers, the eyes grow heavy, the stomach grumbles, and a much needed break is suddenly on the menu. We want to give you ideas and suggestions to fill all of your tea times with a bit of sugar and a lot of joy.

This ginger cake with caramelized pears is the perfect tea time dessert. It feeds 6 people and is best eaten in one sitting (though I won't say no to leftovers). The fresh ginger cake has a beautiful blend of lemon, ginger, and molasses with a deep and satisfying flavor. Yet, it still manages to stay light. Served drizzled with caramel and a side of caramelized pears and you have yourself a little slice of heaven. From start to finish, this cake takes a mere 30 minutes. This dessert is truly divine.

Fresh Ginger Cake with Caramelized Pears
Adapted from A Homemade Life

Yields 6 servings

Ginger Cake
1 cup whole wheat (or all purpose) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1/4 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch baking pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the molasses, sour cream, butter, sugar, egg, ginger, and lemon zest. Stir until smooth. Add the flour mixture and fold until the flour is fully incorporated. Spread the cake batter into the prepared baking pan.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cake is golden and springy to the touch. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Caramelized Pears
3 medium firm-ripe pears
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon dark rum

Cut the pears in half lengthwise and remove the core. Continue to slice the halves lengthwise until each pear is cut into 8 equal slices and brush with lemon juice.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter on medium heat. Once melted, add the pears, occassionally shaking the pan or turning over the pears so they cook evenly. Sprinkle the sugar over the pears and continue cooking until the sugar is melted and the pears are tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to another bowl.

Over medium heat, continue to cook the sugar-butter mixture until it begins to turn the deep brown color of caramel. Remove from heat and carefully add the water and cream. It may splatter! Then add the rum and return the pan to the heat, stirring and simmering until the caramel thickens slightly. Return the pears to the pan and cook until warm.

Serve the cake in slices, with a few pear slices on the side (or on top!) and drizzle the cake with caramel. So good.