Don't you just love getting the newspaper on the weekend, putting your feet up on the couch or bed, and spending a few lazy hours reading it? This is one of my favourite pastimes, although I seem to do it less and less these days. I look forward especially to reading the insert magazines, which are full of columns and stories and, best of all, recipes.
On Saturday, the magazine in The Age is called Good Weekend, and regularly features recipes by one of Australia's top chefs, Neil Perry, of Rockpool and Spice Temple fame. I tear any recipes out that I fancy and put them in my enormous recipe stash, fervently hoping that one day I make at least some of them.
Last month, Neil featured a raspberry and pear cake in his column, which immediately caught my eye. I love fluffy, fruit-filled cakes, and this one fit the bill nicely.
The cake was easy to make, and the longest step was the baking time of one hour and fifteen minutes. For my labour, I was rewarded with a fluffy, buttery, moist, spongy cake studded liberally with raspberries and pear chunks. In a word - devine!
To make this cake yourself, you will need:
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
juice of one lemon
180g butter, softened
200g self raising flour
100g almond meal
2 tablespoons milk
250g fresh or frozen raspberries (I only used 125g which was plenty)
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Spray a 20cm springform pan with spray oil, and line the base with baking paper.
Pour the lemon juice over the chopped pears and toss to cover the pear chunks so that they don't brown.
Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat until pale and creamy. In a cup, beat the eggs together with a fork, then add it in a steady stream to the butter and sugar mixture while continuing to beat it.
In a separate bowl, sift in the flour, then whisk in the almond meal. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold the flour and almond meal into the butter mixture in 3 separate lots. The batter will become very thick - don't worry! Stir in the milk, then carefully add the pears and raspberries to the batter and fold into the mixture with the rubber spatula.
Place the batter into the prepared springform pan, and smooth over the top with a metal spatula or knife. Put the cake into the pre-heated oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the cooked cake from the oven and cool in the springform pan on a wire rack.
Once the cake is cool, run a knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake from the sides, then take the cake out of the pan. Dust with icing sugar if desired and serve.
This is a really lovely cake - the type that you would like every day with your afternoon cup of tea.