Caramel Pear Spice Cake
Author: Prudy | butter, basil, and breadcrumbs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp cloves
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 tbsp bourbon (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup milk
Browned Butter Frosting
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- 1 stick butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup milk (Do not add the full ¼ cup at once)
- 8-12 Seckel Pears (depending on the size), cored with stem left in.
- 3 cups chocolate wine (or your favorite wine)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 – 14oz bag caramel candies (about 50 pieces)
- ⅓ cup milk
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1½ cups chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Preheat Oven to 350°
- Grease and flour 2 – 9” round cake pans
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Set aside until ready to use. In a large mixing bowl, cream the dark brown sugar, butter, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla on high until light and fluffy.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low, and begin to add the flour mixture one cup at a time, alternating with the milk (1/3 cup at a time) beating until each addition is fully incorporated, ending with the milk. Beat just until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from oven, and let cool for about 15 minutes in the pan. Carefully invert the cake pan onto a cooling rack, and remove the pan from the cake. Carefully flip the cake right side up onto the cooling rack. Repeat with the other cake. Let cool completely.
- When the cake is completely cooled, use a long sharp knife (I like using a bread knife) and carefully slice off the rounded tops of the cake to even out and make a flat surface. Place the bottom layer on your favorite cake plate/pedestal.
- Cut the tip off of a disposable decorator’s bag (I used a 16”) so that the opening is about 1” in diameter. Fill the bag with the browned butter frosting, and begin piping thick circles of frosting around the outer edge of the top of the bottom layer. Continue to pipe the thick circles of frosting all over the top of the bottom later until it is completely full.
- Place the top layer of the cake, trimmed side down, on top of the piped frosting, making it a two layer cake**.
- Melt the caramel per the directions below, and pour half over the cake, and carefully around the upper edges so that the caramel drips down the side of the cake.
- Using the remaining caramel in the saucepan, and working quickly, dip the poached pears into the caramel, covering three fourths of each pear, and place the caramel covered pear onto a parchment lined baking sheet. The caramel will spread out about an inch or around the bottom of the pear. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes so that the caramel hardens, and the pears are easy to handle.
- Place one pear in the center of the top of the cake. Carefully place each pear around the edge of the cake, until the whole top of the cake is covered.
- Sprinkle candied walnuts over the top of the pears, and down into the crevices between the pears.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Browned Butter Frosting
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, continue to let it simmer and bubble until the fat and solids separate. Don’t leave the pan at this point, because butter can burn very quickly. Watch the solids in the bottom of the pan, as they will begin to turn to a golden brown with a delicious nutty flavor. Remove from heat, and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar, browned butter, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of milk. Begin beating on low until the ingredients are incorporated, and then increase the speed to high, and continue to add the milk one tablespoon at a time until the frosting becomes fluffy and a thick spreading consistency.
- Bring the wine and sugar to a boil in a large saucepan, stirring often until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for five minutes. Add as many pears that will fit without crowding the saucepan. Simmer for about three to five minutes. Remove from the liquid and let dry on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pears.
- Melt the caramels and milk in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until fully melted.
- Melt the butter in a large saute pan. Add the walnuts, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Stir until all of the sugar has coated the walnuts. Cook on medium heat for about five minutes until the sugar has melted.
- Pour on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and let cool completely. Once cooled, break apart.