This is going to have to start with an apology, because this cake isn’t new to my dessert rotation. In fact I’ve been baking, caramelizing, artfully swirling, and yes, eating this cake since I was an intern at Martha. Yup, that’s right. I’ve been hoarding this cake, all on my own. For more than half a year.
Truthfully, what’s been keeping this cake off the blog is the fact that it’s best eaten right after assembly, and that as soon as it’s assembled, everyone in sight seems to gobble it up. Cake gone. Empty platter, only. Hence, no photo evidence. And while a written recipe and a cute little story is all well and good, let’s be real. It’s better with photo evidence.
For this cake, you could skip the vanilla bean yogurt just like you could skip the caramelized pears. Because this cake is really perfect sliced, toasted, and spread with honey as is. It’s also good eaten unsliced, by the handful, in a style best known as starving Frenchman with a big baguette. You know, that full-on tearing into a giant loaf of something. Except, this would be me. Not-starving Brooklynite, with a loaf of cake.
Perhaps for civility, I should stick to adding the yogurt and pears. As a bonus, they are really, quite delicious. And pretty. Stacked up like little pear buildings.
1 ½ cups white flour
1 cup white sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup milk of your choice
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Zest from one large navel orange
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Oil and flour an 8 inch metal loaf pan using olive oil. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, and salt with a large fork. Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the eggs, milk, olive oil, and orange zest. Combine with a fork until the batter is smooth. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely in the pan.
2 Bosch pears, washed and dried, cut into quarters and cored
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1. In a large pan, heat sugar, vinegar, and orange juice over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbling. Place the pears down in the pan and let caramelize, about 10 minutes a side until soft and sweet. Add a splash of water to the pan whenever the pan looks dry or the caramel begins to get too dark. Remove pears from heat and pour caramel over them. Let cool.
½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon white sugar
Pulp from ½ a vanilla bean
1. Whisk together yogurt, sugar, and vanilla bean. Remove the cake from pan and level with a serrated knife. Artfully swirl yogurt on top of cake and arrange cooled pears on top of yogurt. Drizzle with caramel and then finish with flaked sea salt, if desired. Serve immediately.