After a summertime that has come and gone without the delivery of its promised sunny days, autumn is here!
I love this season because of the spectacular harvest bounty that it brings, as well as the wonderful colours that Mother Nature displays from her very own pret-a-porter wardrobe.
On trees she spreads an amazingly rich combination of reds, oranges and plums. On grass there are even richer and deeper green hues, all defined by a touch of brown. And she sets all these in the misty pale blues and grey tones of the first autumnal mists. Wonderful!
Much as I love Italy, I think that autumn in England is really quite a show.
Pears are part of this Autumn bounty and their versatility is just incredible. You can use them in a variety of savoury tarts, or develop their sweet soul by poaching them in rich wine, or baking them in a cake.
My ‘cinnamon and pear cake’ – that is wheat-free, gluten-free and dairy-free – is my own personal interpretation of what to do with such a delicious fruit.
Although this cake is very healthy, it won’t leave your taste buds disappointed!Â It has been perfected over time using ingredients that are part of the Italian cookery tradition and that, without knowing it, are able to satisfy the dietary needs of the growing number of people with food intolerances.
For example, polenta and ground almonds give a wonderfully light and crumbling texture to the cake, while the moistness is provided by the use of a very light extra virgin olive oil. Cinnamon and clove tones add the necessary depth of aromas and enhance the flavour of the caramelised pears.
Fortunately, this is also a cake that’s very easy to prepare. And although its ideal for people following a strict wheat-free, gluten-free or dairy-free diet, it is also increasingly popular with my customers without such needs, but who love the idea of eating a wonderful cake that is so kind to their digestive system.
So… what are you waiting for? Why not follow the recipe here and bake this healthy apple and cinnamon cake for yourself?
Trust me, you’ll glow with guilt-free satisfaction knowing that food for the gods can be prepared so easily and with easy-to-find ingredients. How spectacularly rewarding!
Ingredients for cinnamon and pear cake:
- 1 lightly greased 23cm spring cake tin with base and side-lined with baking paper.
- 6 large free range or organic eggs.
- 400g of caster sugar – I use organic.
- 400g of ground almonds.
- 400ml of very light Extra Virgin Olive oil or good quality vegetables oil.
- 200g of fine polenta.
- 2 tablespoons of cinnamon.
- ¼ teaspoon of ground clove.
- Zest of 1 organic lemon finally grated.
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder.
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extracts.
- 8 william pears, peeled and cored.
- 2 tablespoons of demerera sugar plus an extra pinch of cinnamon for decoration.
Instructions for cinnamon and pear cake:
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (gas mark 4).
- Beat the eggs and the sugar until the sugar dissolves, then add the oil.
- Mix the baking powder with the ground almonds and polenta and sift the mixture into the egg and sugar batter.
- When the flour has been incorporated well add the cinnamon, clove, vanilla extract and lemon zest.
- In the meantime choose the half pears that need to be put on the top of the cake by laying them on the base of the cake tin. By doing this you will make sure that you have enough then the rest can be cubed.
- When the cubed pears are ready fold them into the cake batter.
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin, making sure to keep it level. Let me warn you that this cake batter is quite thick and heavy so make sure you have a spatula around to help with the pouring.
- Top the cake with the reserved half-pears, sprinkle the demerara sugar on top and bake for at least 90 minutes or until a tooth pick insert in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- This cake will take longer to cook so make sure that you turn it during its cooking time.
- When the cake is ready, sprinkle the reserved cinnamon on top, let it cool, cut and serve.
One final tip… serve with homemade custard and let your heart sing!