Ingredients for the caramelized pears:
6 large, ripe pears, peeled, cored and quartered lengthways
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
40g unsalted butter
80g caster sugar
130ml Kentucky bourbon or whisky
12 drops of Ginger Spice Drops®
10 drops of Cinnamon Spice Drops®
6 drops of Clove Spice Drops®
6 drops of Nutmeg Spice Drops®
Ingredients for the cake:
165g plain flour
30g ground almond powder
1/2 tsp salt
160g unsalted butter
75g dark muscovado sugar
4 large eggs
170g Maple syrup
3 tbsp boiling water
11/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1. Preheat the oven to 175 C, Gas mark 4. Line the tin with non-stick baking parchment.
2. To make the caramelized pears, mix the pears with the lemon juice. In a large frying pan, melt the butter and sprinkle half the caster sugar. Put the pear quarters into the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes or until brown on one side then turn and cook for a further 5 minutes until the other side is brown. With a flat spatula carefully remove the pear quarters and set aside to cool slightly.
3. Add the bourbon and the rest of the caster sugar into the same pan and stir frequently for about 5 minutes until the mixture becomes syrupy. Add in all the Spice Drops®. Pour this syrup into a 23 cm x 32 cm baking tin and tip the tin to spread the syrup evenly over the bottom of the tin.
4. Start to arrange the pears from one corner so that they cover the bottom of the tin and are facing the same direction. Set aside.
5. To make the cake batter, sift together the flour and salt in a bowl.
6. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together for around 5 minutes on a medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time at a lower speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the maple syrup and beat for a few minutes more.
7. In a small bowl, add the boiling water to the bicarbonate of soda and set aside. Add half the dry flour mixture to the creamed mixture on low speed, then add the water and bicarbonate of soda and the rest of the flour mixture and mix until well incorporated. It will look like the mixture has split, but that is alright.
8. Scrape the mixture into the tin on top of the arranged pears and bake for 25 minutes at 175 C.
After 25 minutes reduce the oven temperature to 160 C and bake for 10 minutes more. When done, the top should bounce back when lightly touched. Cool in the tin for 1 hour, then loosen around the edges of the cake. Place a tray over the top of the tin and carefully but quickly turn upside down.