Friday, 28 September 2012

A, B, C . . . is for cake!

September appears to be recipe month! I don't know if it's the wonderful blustery dark storms sweeping in, drawing the nights in earlier, or if it's just being on a diet (8lbs gone so far!), but lately I'm even more obsessed with food than usual.  So a little later on I'm going to share another recipe with you, Good Housekeeping's Pear and Almond cake. Can you say lush?

But before we have cake I thought I would share a little blogging feature that's going around at the moment ~ the ABC of me. It's a neat thing I've seen on a few of the crafty / foodie blogs I visit and I think it's a great way to share a little about myself with you:
A} Age: 40

B} Bed Size: Double, with a King-size feather duvet on top. I ♥ my bed!

C} Chore you dislike: Oh dear, all of them! I guess I least despise ironing, because at least I can set the ironing board up in front of the tv and do two things at once! Possibly dusting / polishing is my biggest yurk ~ my house is composed of layers of clutter upon stuff surmounting bits and bobs, so dusting really means tidying too. Sadface.

D} Dogs: Nellie-egg, our rescued Podenco cross from Spain. She is sweet, timid, and when she’s been asleep in her bed for a little while she smells somewhat like a biscuit!?!

E} Essential start to your day: Coffee. No idea why as I drink decaf anyway, but the day doesn’t feel right if I haven’t had a small cup of coffee laced with hazlenut syrup.

F} Favorite Colors: Hmmm, I love all colours, all shades, depending on the where when and why, but I think perhaps emerald green tips the scales for me.

G} Gold or Silver: Gold. I do like silver’s clarity and clean look in some situations but generally I like the soft warmth of gold.

H} Height: Five foot nine.

I} Instruments you play (past/present): Remember at school they used to make you play recorder? Well, that’s my limit I’m afraid. I can’t remember how to read music but if you give me a few minutes practice I can play the themes from Star Wars and Harry Potter. What more do you need ;)

J} Job Title: Part-time office admin, full-time mother, crafter in the gaps between.

K} Kids: One son, aged eleven going on fourteen! He alternates between an angel and a nightmare, and puts the smile in my heart.

L} Live: In Portsmouth, an historic naval port on the south coast of England 

M} Mum’s name: Anne

N} Nicknames: I don’t think I have any, not that people use to my face anyway! Sometimes people call me “Fi” but not often. One guy at work calls me “Madame Fi-Fi” but I do wish he wouldn’t. I am not a poodle.

O} Overnight hospital stays: None so far, touch wood!

P} Pet Peeves: There are sooooo many! It would be quicker to list the things that don’t hack me off! But I guess most of them can be boiled down to arrogance, and a lack of consideration for others.

Q} Quote from a Movie: Oooh, again, how to pick only one! I am a big movie buff, and part of me wants to choose something obscure and/or artsy but in the end all that kept popping into my head was this Python quote: “Lord, I am affected by a bald patch”. The timing and delivery are just brilliant. Can you name the film it’s from?

R} Righty or Lefty: Right-handed for everything except cutlery, weird huh?

S} Siblings: My little baby sister is 38 now, how did that happen?!

T} Time you wake up: Just lately it seems to be around 5 – 5.30am. I’ve always been an early bird rather than a night owl, but this is getting a little early even for me!

U} URL favorite these days: The usual suspects: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, but I'm Loving My Fitness Pal lately, and IMDb is always extremely useful

V} Vegetables you don’t like: Tomatoes. They are the devil’s fruit.

W} What makes you run late: I’m usually pretty punctual, but “I’ll just quickly check my emails / facebook / twitter” pushes me close to the limit.

X} X-Rays: Only dental x-rays.

Y} Yesterday memory: Chopping apples!

Z} Zoo Animal Favorite: Not really keen on zoos, but I do love animals. Maybe a giraffe? Or a tapir? Tigers are awesome but whenever I’ve seen one in a zoo I’ve just felt sad for them. They should be prowling the jungle, not lying in a cage.

Ok, enough about me. Cake time. 

Pear and Almond Cake

225g (8oz) butter
250g (9oz) caster sugar
3 medium eggs
125g (4oz) SR flour, sifted
1/2 tsp almond essence
75g (3oz) ground almonds

For the Topping:
2 medium pears
2 tbsp demerara sugar
15g (1/2 oz) flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4

Line base and sides of a 8" (20cm) round tin with baking parchment.
Beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Gradually add the eggs one at a time, add 1tbsp if the mixture looks like curdling. Beat in almond essence.
Using a large metal spoon, fold in the flour and ground almonds. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake for 20mins.
Meanwhile, peel and core the pears then slice into approx 5mm slices. When the cake has baked for approx 20 mins, carefully take it out of the oven and arrange the pear slices prettily on top (they should sink slightly. Mine didn't, so I gave them a helping prod) Sprinkle over the demerara sugar and flaked almonds. Return the cake to the oven for a further 55 mins, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the tin for 10 mins then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve still slightly warm or at room temperature.

I really like this cake, and it's a perfect autumnal treat. The edges had a fabulous crunch, while the centre was soft and moist. I thought the pears could have had more impact, and might try an extra pear next time I make it, but it was delicious nonetheless.
Despite the fruity element, this is not a healthy option! But I have added the nutritional info provided by the Good Housekeeping recipe to My Fitness Pal for those of you interested in calorie-counting.


  1. I can vouch this cake is AMAZING! Thanks for sharing the recipe, I can't wait to make it myself!

    1. Thanks Barbara! It is proper lush, I may have to make it again really soon :)