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Max's Fresh Raspberry and Pear Cake

by Holly Goldberg Sloan
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hollycakeIt's autumn and that means....

Max's Fresh Raspberry + Pear Bundt Cake with Buttercream Frosting

This cake was the result of what I didn't have.  I wanted to make a cake for my son's birthday, but it was late in the afternoon and I didn't have time to drive to the store.  So I decided to just wing it in the kitchen, which always leads to the new and unexpected.  Plus, the birthday son isn't a stickler about his birthday cake and in truth doesn't even like sweets.  This gave me permission to experiment. 

So I guess I should call this Max's Fresh Raspberry and Pear Cake.  I'm honoring him. This cake is dense, moist, filed with hunks of fruit, and in my estimation, delicious.  I'm fairly certain that it's also not on any diet plans. I serve it topped with Buttercream frosting, the kind that you make from a SINGLE BOX of powdered sugar (recipe on the back of the blue box -- you add to the powered sugar a cube of butter, a 1/4 cup of whole milk and a teaspoon of vanilla.  Beat with the blender.  Works every time). 

Let us begin....

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Ingredients for cake:

4 eggs
4 whole PEARS (I use bosque pears because they aren't as juicy) -- Should be about 3 cups once cut up
1 and 1/2 cups of fresh raspberries
2 cups of sugar
2 and 1/4 sticks of butter melted in saucepan (18 tablespoons)
3 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
a pinch of salt (or not)

Cut up the pears into chunks the size of half walnuts.  While you are doing this, put the two and a quarter cubes of butter in a sauce pan on low heat until it is all melted. Set aside to cool down.

Beat the 4 eggs for 2 minutes with an electric beater on low.

Add the 2 cups sugar to the eggs and stir.

Pour in the melted butter (once it's cooled a bit). Add in the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt). Beat again by hand or with mixer until you have a thick, smooth batter. With a spoon fold in the fresh fruit (pears and raspberries) and pour this into a GREASED BUNDT CAKE PAN. Really GREASE the Bundt pan.  And lightly flour.  But I mean it about the greasing. If you phone-in this part, you will regret it. 

BAKE at 350 for ONE HOUR + PLUS, meaning at one hour, start checking. It might need another 5 to 12 minutes, depending on how much moisture was in the pears, the real temperature of the oven, etc.  Test with a toothpick your trained (or untrained) eye.

Remove from oven. Okay, now how do you get the bundt cake out of the pan?

There are theories on this. Do NOT be afraid of your Bundt cake pan. It's your friend. I mean it. Even if half the cake sticks in there, you can scrap it out and stick it back together. But it's not going to stick because you are going to do two things.

One--Just before you take the pan out of the oven you are going to throw a dish towel in your sink and soak it with steamy HOT water. Then you are going to take the bundt pan from the oven and place the BUNDT pan down in the sink (pan down, cake looking up at you). While it's sitting there, quickly slip a butter knife around the edge of pan, and then around the center and sing the Happy Birthday song. This takes about 10-20 seconds. You could also not sing the song, and just wait 10-20 seconds.

Next, OVEN MITTS are on people, grab the bundt pan and INVERT it onto a cooling rack or a plate. I put it on plate. But some of you like these cooling racks. To each her/his own.

The Pear Raspberry Cake will fall right out of the pan. If it doesn't, well, not the end of the world. Get the stuck pieces out and put them back in place (remember, perfect is the enemy of the good. Voltaire said this first. Or at least gets credit. I say, pie is better than cake, but a bundt cake is better than a layer cake).

countingby7sLet the cake COOL to the touch.  (An hour? 90 minutes?)

Then make the buttercream frosting:

ONE - 1 lb. box (which is approx. 3 3/4 cups) of Powered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup of whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frost cake to your liking.  Serve warm-ish.  However, this cake is even better the next day. Go figure.

Holly Goldberg Sloan is a writer and cook who believes that a great deal of joy starts in the kitchen.  Her latest novel is Counting by 7s, published by Penguin. A New York Times Bestseller and an AMAZON Best Book of the Year 2013 for kids and teens.

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