This cake really had to sit a few days to allow the flavors to emerge. I was very disappointed with the lack of flavor the day I baked it, but it was extraordinary the longer it sat.
Pear-Walnut Cake with Honey-Orange Syrup
This is similar to pan d'Espanya (Spanish bread), which is what Sephardic Jews call sponge cake. Brushing the honey-orange syrup over the warm cake infuses it with moisture and delicate aromas. For a second-day treat, try toasting a leftover slice. Garnish with orange rind curls and star anise.
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- Calories: 271
- Calories from fat: 30%
- Fat: 8.9g
- Saturated fat: 0.9g
- Monounsaturated fat: 4.3g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 2.9g
- Protein: 4.1g
- Carbohydrate: 45.4g
- Fiber: 1.4g
- Cholesterol: 47mg
- Iron: 1.4mg
- Sodium: 176mg
- Calcium: 15mg
- Cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (about 13 1/2 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon aniseed, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups chopped peeled pear (about 3)
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- To prepare cake, coat a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray; dust with 2 tablespoons flour. Set aside.
- Place sugar and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until thick and pale (about 3 minutes).
- Lightly spoon 3 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, aniseed, salt, and cinnamon, stirring well with a whisk.
- Combine rind, 1/2 cup juice, oil, and vanilla. Add flour mixture to egg mixture alternately with juice mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; blend after each addition just until combined. Stir in pear and walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 375° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; loosen cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula or knife. Place a plate upside down on top of cake pan; carefully invert cake onto plate.
- To prepare syrup, combine honey and 2 tablespoons juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Brush warm syrup over top and sides of cake. Cool completely.
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