Pear-Walnut Sticky Cake
For this decadent dessert, a sticky caramel-nut mixture is poured over the top of a pear-flecked butter cake. The brown sugar in the cake batter amplifies the caramel flavor, while pear nectar heightens the taste of the fruit.
For the cake:
- Unsalted butter for greasing
- 1 cup (5 oz./155 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup (5 1/2 oz. /170 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 5 Tbs. (2 1/2 oz./75 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) pear nectar
- 1 ripe pear, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) cubes
For the topping:
- 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 4 Tbs. (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter
- 1 Tbs. whole milk
To make the cake, preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan and tap out the excess flour.
Over a sheet of parchment paper, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat together the brown sugar, melted butter, eggs and pear nectar on medium speed until blended, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the flour mixture just until combined and then the pear. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack.
To make the topping, in a saucepan, combine the walnuts, brown sugar, butter and milk. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and then continue to boil, stirring frequently, until the mixture is reduced to a thick, saucelike consistency, about 3 minutes. Pour the hot mixture over the hot cake in the pan. Let stand for 3 minutes.
Release the pan sides and place the cake on a plate. Cut into wedges and serve warm. Serves 8 to 10.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Luscious Fruit Desserts (Weldon Owen, 2015)