Here’s a lovely, simple cake that’s easy to make and even easier to eat. The crunchy topping perfectly complements the springy moist interior.
Makes: 10 – 12 slices
Time: Prep: 30 – 35 minutes; baking: 50 – 55 minutes + cooling
Equipment: A 20cm (8”) round, loose-bottomed cake tin
Credits: Adapted from a recipe in the excellent “1 Mix, 100 Cakes” by Christine France
- 60g (2.5oz) flaked almonds*
- 50g (2oz) dark Muscovado sugar*
- 3 tbsp plain white flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 30g (1.25oz) oats*
- 40g (1.5oz) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tbsp demerara sugar (optional, if required)
- Icing sugar to dust (optional)
* You can increase any of these a bit, but also add in a small amount of extra melted butter.
- Oil or butter for greasing the tin
- 125g (4oz) plain white (all purpose) flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 125g (4oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 125g (4oz) golden caster sugar
- 2 large eggs (or 3 medium), beaten lightly
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 50g (2oz) ground almonds
- 2 fairly ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped small
- 1 – 2 tbsp milk (if required)
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Fan 150C/325F/Gas 3. Grease and line the tin.
2. First make the topping. In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients except the demerara sugar. Melt the butter and pour onto the dry mixture and stir together with a fork. If the mixture is very dry then add more melted butter; if wet, add a few more oats. Set the bowl aside until later. Reserve the demerara in case it’s needed later.
3. For the cake, sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the salt, butter, sugar, eggs and almond extract. Beat until smooth and mixed. Take care not to overbeat. Stir in the ground almonds and half the pears. If the mixture is very stiff, stir in some or all of the milk.
4. Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the surface. Scatter over the remaining pieces of pear. Lightly press any that stick up above the others. Sprinkle on the prepared topping, ensuring that the whole surface is covered. (If you do have any gaps then use the demerara sugar sparingly to fill them in.)
5. Bake on the middle shelf for about 50 – 55 minutes. Check at 45 minutes in case you need to cover the top with foil. Insert a metal skewer into the middle of the cake to check that it has baked. If it comes out clean, it’s ready. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully. Dust with icing sugar to serve, if you like.