Learning the difference between disaster and success

A couple of weekends ago I was invited to lunch with my lovely Aunty and cousins and couldn’t pass up the chance to bake. I re-organised my Friday night, located a recipe I hadn’t tried before but liked the look of, made my usual tweaks (the day I stick to a recipe, even my own, will be the day hell freezes over!), shopped appropriately etc etc. All in all it was probably the most organised I had been for ages. Perhaps my first warning sign this wasn’t going to turn out the way I expected… One day I will learn to manage expectations, especially my own!

I am in love with almond meal and in love with fruit. Put them together and you will never be disappointed. Or so I thought. As soon as I started making the cake component, I knew I was in serious trouble. Now I know I said I made tweaks but I stuck to the baking rules, just swapped the fruit and the hazelnut meal for almond meal. Subtle changes that respected the recipe but made it well, more to my liking!

None of these changes were the cause of my concern. In all honesty, I think the recipe referenced the wrong size tin. Either that or the quantities needed doubling. Anyhoo, whatever the issue it was one. I didn’t have enough cake mix, was making extra on the fly and quickly starting to realise that baking at 10pm on a Friday night for a Saturday lunch with a recipe I’d never tested before was not my best idea.

The end result was less than perfect. Or at least I thought it was. My Pear, Berry and Almond Cake didn’t make it to lunch. Instead I got up early and headed to the Eveleigh Markets in the rain to buy an Orange and Meringue Cake which was delicious and completely pretty. My poor Pear, Berry and Almond Cake had to wait until Sunday to be taste tested at which point I realised my real mistake. That being, I didn’t take it to lunch. The baking process may have been a bit frenetic and the end product not as pretty as I had hoped but it was so delicious. In all honesty, it is the tastiest thing I have baked in ages!

Pear, berry and almond cake (serves 8-10)

  • 200gm melted butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 sliced pears
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed berries
  • Double cream and icing sugar, to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease and line a 22cm springform cake tin.
  2. Combine the pear and brown sugar in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, almond meal, caster sugar, melted butter and milk. Mix until smooth noting it will be almost like a dough rather than a batter.
  4. Halve the cake mixture and press into the cake tin. Layer with the sliced pear and mixed berries and top with the remained cake mixture.
  5. Bake for 60-70  minutes although I recommend checking at about the 40 minute mark. If the top is becoming too golden, cover loosely with foil and continue to bake.
  6. Allow to cool completely before removing from the tin and dusting with icing sugar. Serve with double cream.
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