This season, I feel like a newborn experiencing everything for the first time. I don’t know if until now my vision has been selective or all I’m seeing now has never been there in the first place but it feels like this is the first autumn I’m witnessing. I feel so alive, so at peace and so warm inside. The best sensory experience for me is when I go running; the music thumping in my ear, the beautiful warm auburn colours of the leaves scattered everywhere, the crisp chill air, the slight ache in my calf muscles, the smell of nothing, the quick breeze as cars whizz past me. It’s a lot to take in and I’m in awe every time at how mother nature can evoke so much emotion even when she’s calmly watching over our chaotic lives. Autumn has officially become my favourite season.
We are all aware of staple ingredients that epitomise autumn; cinnamon, pumpkin, apples, etc. but we never remember the humble ones that sit and watch from the sideline. Alone they are almost forgettable but together they create a synergy unlike anything else. I’m talking about the fusion of delicate and gentle pears with the warm and strong ginger. For me, the taste of this light cake will now be strongly associated with autumn and therefore imprinted in my memory every year. As the cake was quite moist (which I liked but my sister didn’t), I found that leaving it to sit for a few hours before eating improved the texture…or if you don’t want to wait that long, just add about 50g more flour. The flaked almonds added a bit of crunch to the moist cake and there was a surprise in every mouthful as my teeth sunk into a random chunk of ginger.
- 100g self raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1tsp nutmeg,grated
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g ground almonds
- 3-4 ripe but firm pears; 300g after peeled, cored and diced
- 75g stem ginger, chopped roughly
- 1 tsp fresh ginger
- 100g butter, melted
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 15g flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4
In a bowl, sift in the flour and baking powder.
Add the nutmeg, sugar and ground almonds and stir.
In a seperate bowl whisk the eggs and vanilla extract together
Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture bowl and put in the pear, stem ginger, melted butter, egg mixture and grated fresh ginger
Mix thoroughly until combined
Pour into a greased and floured tin, sprinkle the flaked almonds and bake for 40 minutes
Take out of the oven, sprinkle with ginger-infused sugar (one tablespoon of sugar + 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger) and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes.
Transfer to a baking rack and cut out a chunky slice.
Serve with melted dark chocolate or with vanilla ice cream
What flavours immediately remind you of autumn?
*adapted from Delicious magazine