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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pear and Cranberry Cake

Well, today I woke up with a little energy, which is rather not usual for me.  Normally, I braille my way to the coffee pot and take awhile to get motivated.  I decided, among other things (laundry and some home repair/remodel fritzing around), to bake this cake.  I have made this with apples, but, I find myself with an abundance of Kiefer Pears from my little brothers tree, so pear it is.  This cake is really a bit more of a breakfast bread, however, if one were to drizzle a cream cheese icing on it, well, that wouldn't suck.  I know, everything is better with cream cheese, unless it's chicken-fried.  Then again, don't put trying that past me.  This is excruciatingly simple with a little pre-prep and a stand mixer (KitchenAid - I lurve it).

Pear and Cranberry Cake

3 cups flour (regular, not cake or self-rising - you can use unbleached and wheat might actually work, I haven't tried that yet)
1 1/2 vegetable oil (or, 1 cup apple sauce 1/2 cup veg oil)
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla (plus I added a wee splash of almond extract on account of I have it)
3 cups pears, peeled, cored, quartered and then sliced 1/4 inch thick-ish
3/4 cup chopped pecans (I use "cookie pieces")
1 cup fresh cranberries (I buy a monster bag at Sam's and vacuum pack by the cup, you can use 1/2 cup of dried cranberries)
butter and flour for greasing, or just use that miracle stuff Baker's Joy

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour, or spray down with BJ, a 9" tube pan.  Measure and or prepare pears, oil, sugar, pecans and cranberries.  Combine oil and sugar in your mixer bowl, with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium speed for five minutes.  Sift flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder together, during your five minute break in activity.  Add eggs (break into a separate bowl first, no shells - ew) and beat until creamy.  Add flour to the batter mixture and stir on low speed until fully incorporated.  Remove paddle and bowl from mixer.  Add pears, cranberries, vanilla (almond if you got it) and pecans and stir with a stiff spatula until combined.  Pour evenly into the prepared tube pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a wooden skewer (toothpicks are too dang short) inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Cool in the pan before turning out onto a cooling rack to finish. 

You can make mini loaves, the baking time is approximately the same.  Well, it was the last time I did it, made mini loaves of this, that is.  The mini's would make excellent Christmas gifts, er, Holiday Handouts to those you like somewhat.  I am contemplating using 1 cup white sugar and 3/4 cup dark brown next time (making another one tomorrow) to see if it adds a toffee note to the cake.  I'll let you know if there's a "texture impact" that is "not good".  This recipe was adapted from "Teddie's Apple Cake", courtesy of The Wednesday Chef.

Houstonians, don't forget, tonight is Lights in the Heights!  Come out, after I've arrived and found a parking spot, okay, and wander the streets.  Children are encouraged!  Don't forget your hot chocolate (and the peppermint schnapps).

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