Last summer (as you may remember), I went through a period where I canned a lot of fruit whole. That’s right, I just popped it into the jars, poured a syrup over top and processed. I wrote about the plums in honey, but as I look back through the archives, I realize I never managed to blog about the seckel pears I canned in that same honey syrup, spiked with a bit of powered ginger.
Throughout this year, I’ve gotten a number of questions from readers who fearlessly followed me into whole fruit canning and then didn’t know what to do with it once they were there. Well kids, here’s one recipe that works for either whole canned pears or plums (provided you used firm plums that at least kind of held their shape during the canning process).
This is a nice, adaptable cake that also works with fresh fruit (but there’s not much of that round these parts besides storage apples that are getting mealier with each passing day). For those of you observing Passover, you’re going to have to wait several more days before you can make this. However, it would make a VERY nice addition to an Easter brunch, if you happen to still be casting about for recipes.
Next time I make this, I think I might sprinkle the top with a bit of crunchy sugar, to give it a bit of shimmer. However, taste wise, it doesn’t need a thing. The fruit makes it feel virtuous but underneath those pear halves, it’s still all cake (moist, slightly nutmeg-y cake). Another way to fancy it up (if you’re using home-canned fruit) would be to reduce the canning syrup down a bit and drizzle it over the top of the cake when serving. So good!
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup applesauce
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 6 canned seckel pears or 8 canned plums, halved and cored/pitted
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter an 8 x 8 baking pan.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together using either a hand or stand mixer. Beat until they are well combined and fluffy. Add the eggs and applesauce and beat to combine. Add the orange zest and vanilla and combine.
- Add half the dry ingredients, beat on low to combine and then repeat.
- Scrape the finished batter into the baking pan and level. Lay the pears into the cake, cut side up, in whatever pattern most appeals to you. I used six pears for this cake. If you use plums, you’ll want to use eight.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, checking in with the cake after 25 minutes to ensure it doesn’t overbake. When finished, let cool for half an hour and then turn it out on a rack to finish cooling completely. Serve with coffee as a treat, or with a dollop of yogurt for breakfast (that’s how I ate it this morning – divine!).