Nicola's Buttermilk Spice Layer Cake with Pear Compote and Creme Fraiche
This recipe makes enough for one cake. If making a layer cake, double the cake part.
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Large pinch of salt
- 3 Bosc pears (about 1 1/2 pounds total), peeled, quartered, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Buttermilk spice cake:
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (scant) baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground whole star anise (see note)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 3-inch piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lime peel
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- Powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 cups crème fraîche
Note about star anise
You can substitute half anise seed and half nutmeg for the star anise. Anise seed is different from star anise - more expensive, but easier to find. If you wanted to do a cheap version, you could probably just use nutmeg, particularly as you only need 1/8tsp for one layer of cake.
For pear compote:
Mix sugar, lime juice, and salt in heavy large saucepan. Add pears and toss gently to coat. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until pears are just tender, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill until cold, then cover and keep chilled.
For buttermilk spice cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides; line pan with round of parchment paper. Sift first 9 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until smooth. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend between additions. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and add lime peel; beat to blend. Beat in flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions, scraping down bowl occasionally. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
Bake cake until beginning to brown on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool cake in pan on cooling rack. DO AHEAD: Cake can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
Cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Turn cake out onto rack; peel off parchment and turn right side up onto platter. Sift powdered sugar over. Cut into wedges. Serve with pear compote and dollop of crème fraîche.