It has been a really long time since I have blogged regularly... and I'm not sure it's going to stick this time around. But I am back to working regular 8-hour shifts, Monday through Friday, rather than rotating 12-hour shifts so I figured I would give it a try.
I chose this particular recipe to get started with for a couple of reasons. The big reason was that I had two sorry looking pears sitting on my counters and I really needed to use them up. I looked over several cake recipes that called for pears but this one won the day because it called for exactly two pears (which is what I had) and it made a bundt cake which is sturdy enough to transport to work via bicycle. It also didn't hurt any that it was a Dorie Greenspan recipe from Baking From My Home To Yours that I haven't actually made before.
As for flavor... all I can say is... "oh wow that is good. holy crap! I can't believe how moist and flavorful and wonderful it is ! Why oh why did I ever wait so long to make this recipe? So good." And I don't even like hazelnuts. One thing that probably makes this such a winner for me is the ground nuts in the recipe. I really, really like the texture difference in a cake with ground nuts in it. In fact, probably one of my favorite recipes of all time is a rum glazed walnut torte that I have made several times now. So despite the fact that hazelnuts don't do much for me, the texture that the ground nuts added to cake more than made up for the fact that hazelnuts are not something I actually like all that much.
2 1/4 all purpose flour
1/2 cup ground hazelnuts or walnuts
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temp
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup buttermilk at room temp
2 medium pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cup moist, plump prunes, snipped into 1/4 inch pieces
powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a bundt pan with baking spray, or coat with butter and dust with flour.
In a small bowl stir together the flour, ground nuts, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
With a mixer, cream together the butter and the brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on medium speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the extracts. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour, then half the buttermilk. Let it mix for just a few beat, then add the rest of the flour, then the rest of the buttermilk. Once the flour has all disappeared, stop the mixer. Fold in the pears and the prunes with a spatula.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and bade for 60 minutes. If the top is getting too brown cover it with foil. It is done when it has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and cool for 10 minutes, then unmold and let cool to room temperature.
When you are ready to serve dust with powdered sugar.