Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pear & Pinenut Cake

Pine nuts are awesome. Why? Because I'm not allergic to them! They're not really nuts, they're seeds and it was a happy happy day many years ago when I realised I could eat them. They are fantastic and the closest thing to actual nuts that I can get.

I've had pears on the brain recently and was thinking of trying a pear crumble cake, similar to the apple crumble cake that my Mum always makes. Then I came across this recipe for a pear and pine nut cake which was very interested in since I haven't tried using pine nuts in a dessert before. It's also quite light and not too fatty which is always a bonus.

Pear & Pine Nut Cake
(from Cooking Light)

1 1/4 cups plain flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup low-fat milk (I used Smart Milk)
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
1 large egg
2 cups thinly sliced peeled pears

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line the bottom of a 9 inch round cake tin. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. (I just rubbed it in using the tips of my fingers, being careful not to warm/melt the butter with my hands) Remove 1/3 cup flour mixture, place in a small bowl and stir in pine nuts and cinnamon into this; set aside.

Combine the remaining flour mixture, sour cream, milk, lemon rind, bicarb soda, baking soda and egg in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Arrange the pear slices evenly over the batter. Sprinkle with pine nut mixture. Bake for 45 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean; cool completely on a wire rack.

I was pleasantly surprised by how wonderful this cake was. The topping worried me as it was baking be cause it looked so powdery and dry, but once it browns up in the oven it is wonderfully crunchy, nutty and sweet.

The cake itself is very light and moist, and the pears are just lovely when paired with the pine nuts. A & I ate this all by ourselves over a couple of days, the cake tasted best when it was warm. I even tried drizzling some cream on it which was naughty but yum. It doesn't need it though, it's great on its own!


  1. This sounds so delicious! I love how moist it looks too.

  2. oh steph i didn't realise you were allergic to nuts! anyway... these look absolutely yummy and hurray for pine nuts! i love them too (favourite is just mixing them in baby spinach + balsamic vinegar + eggplant/sundried tomatoes for that middle eastern salad). mmmmm...

  3. Oh YAY for pine nuts and being a nut you can eat. I'm a sucker for any dessert with apple or pear and this looks wonderful! And this is using light ingredients? Even better! :)

  4. What a delicious-looking cake. Love the pear in it, and yes, it is very like a crumble, isn't it?

  5. Love pears, love pinenuts! Looks fab. Another to add to the must bake list!

  6. That's a gorgeous looking cake! Any idea what type of pear would be suitable for this cake?

  7. Yummy looking cake, don't you love it when you get a whole cake to yourself lol.

  8. yarm! i love pinenuts! especially in pesto pasta oh man so good!

  9. This looks fantastic. My love of pears is well documented haha. I love the idea of combining them with pine nuts. I can imagine this would be amazing with custard.

  10. Y - :D thanks, I was very pleased by how moist it was!

    Trisha - Yep but I'm lucky that it's mild and can somehow still eat things cooked in peanut oil and bakes with almond meal! MMM Pine nuts are so good in salads!

    Lorraine - Yep I love things that don't make you feel guilty with every bite you take! I'm going through a big pear phase at the moment :)

    Belle - Thanks! I love anything with a crumble on it!

    tummyrumble - :D Give it a go! I stuffed up the recipe halfway through and it still turned out good so I think it's a keeper!

    pablopabla - Aw thanks! Ermm any pear should be fine I think, I used those green Packham pears which worked well as they were firm and not too grainy so they held together well.

    Miss Honey - Hehe nothing better than getting it all to yourself! But you feel less guilty when you manage to give it all away!

    chocolatsuze - yay pesto is so awesome! They're one reason I'm so relieved I can eat pine nuts!

    Lisa - :D Haha well I seem to be a bit obsessed with pears at the moment, there will probably be more recipes with pears soon! Ooh yes custard would definitely work well!

  11. this is one scrumptious looking cake - i literally drool at the computer when i see pics of your baking.

    anyway, just wanted to let you know that i'm awarding you with the 'kreativ blogger award'. more deets here:

  12. Made this tonight for a dinner party and served it with vanilla custard. It was a hugeee hit! Great recipe..Easy to make and looked good too! The cake is really moist and not to sugary.

    In your recipe i think you left out the step to add the egg, vanilla, and lemon zest with the sour cream & milk though!

  13. panda - Aww thanks so much!! Check out my honeycomb cake post to see it :)

    Anonymous - Oh my gosh, I'm a total idiot *smacks forehead* There should have been a long list of things to add at once, I've fixed it now! How silly of me! I'm so glad it worked out well, even with my bad instructions!


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