Birthdays are a reason for Celebrating.
My Grandmother recently celebrated a birthday and Rich and I decided to surprise her. She knew that my Wonderful Parents would be joining her but that My Love and I had “too many other things going on” to join her. There is a truth to that but little did she know that part of our busy weekend was us driving 2 hours to surprise her at dinner. My parents showed up earlier in the day, with this cake in tow, and then a few hours later when they went out to dinner… low & behold we were waiting there for them!
Celebrating her birthday was a great day and the shock on my Grandmother’s face was priceless!
Not everything in life goes smoothly & you are going to have bumps in the road along the way in almost anything worth giving your time and effort to – but remember that it is worth it! SO, my advice to you is live your life to the best of your ability and always try to remember that “Everything will be alright in the end. If its not, then it’s not the end.”
Happy Celebrating – now go eat some cake!
Ginger Pear Cake
as adapted from Graceful Cuisine – fyi: she has a low-dairy version over at her site
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 1 lb firm-ripe Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup (finely chopped) candied ginger
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
*or just use Caramel Ice Cream Topping, will be a little more runny though
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp lemon juice
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup thick cream
- 1 tbsp whiskey
- Pinch Kosher salt
- 4 cups Heavy Cream
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
Make the CAKE… Preheat the oven to 350oF with one rack in the top third of the oven, and another rack in the bottom third. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with a parchment round. Butter the parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and cream on medium high speed for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.
Reduce the stand mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk. Be sure to start and end with the flour mixture. Beat on low speed between each addition until just incorporated. The batter will be thick and fluffy.
Stir in the pears, candied ginger, and vanilla. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and level the batter with a spatula.
Set two pans on the top oven rack and the third pan on the bottom rack, being sure to stagger the pans so that no pan is directly over top of another. Bake for 20 minutes, then swap and rotate the positions of the pans. Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then invert the cakes onto cooling racks, remove the parchment, and let cool completely.
*I just used Ice Cream Topping – but if you are making it... Make the Caramel Glaze: Keep a pastry brush soaked in water by the stove as you work. In a 3-quart saucier, stir together the sugar, lemon juice, and cold water. Brush down the sides of the pan to wash away any sugar crystals. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan, until the mixture starts to color around the edges, 5-8 minutes.
Gently swirl the pan once to even out the color and make sure the sugar caramelizes evenly. Brush down the sides of the pan if the sugar seems about to burn. Cook for another 30 seconds or until the sugar turns medium amber. Keep an eye on it because the mixture will darken quickly!
Reduce the heat to low and stir in the butter. Keep stirring until the bubbles settle down. Add the cream one tablespoon at a time, stirring to combine after each addition. Continue stirring until the caramel is smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the whiskey and salt. Strain the caramel through a fine sieve and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Make the Whipped Cream: Cool the bowl of a stand mixer in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Whip the Cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken, about 3-5 minutes. Add the sugar, raise the speed to medium high, and continue to whip until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes more. Raise the speed to high and continue to ship until stiff peaks form.
Assemble the cake: Line a 10-inch cake round or cake plate with strips of waxed paper to keep it clean while icing.
Put a cake layer on the strips of wax paper and top the cake layer with about 2 cups of the whipped cream, spreading evenly with a metal spatula almost to the cake’s edge. Put the next cake layer, upside down (or flat side up), on top and spread with 2 more cups of the cream. Top with the last cake layer, also placing it upside down (or flat side up). Thickly coat the sides and top of the cake with the remaining Whipped Cream. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes.
Glaze the cake: Slowly drizzle the caramel glaze over the top of the cake with a spoon, making sure that it covers the top of the cake and drizzles down the sides. You don’t have to use all the caramel glaze if you are satisfied with the appearance. Carefully remove the wax paper strips by sliding it out from under the cake. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours before serving.
One Year Ago – Spinach Mushroom Frittata: simple, adaptable, healthy, & delicious!
Oh yeah, by the way – if you are looking for another great recipe featuring PEARS & CANDIED GINGER (with slightly fewer calories) check out the most delicious Candied Gingered Pear Muffins, as inspired by Bird Bath Bakery, made for my wonderful fiancee (who *loves* my grandmother and her wet kisses) after our trip to NYC with Scott’s Pizza Tours. Rich loves Scott almost as much as I love Rich, my own personal Pocono Wedding Photographer!
And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… What was the best surprise that you ever gave someone (or had done for you)?