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A spicy cardamon cake with wine poached pears recipe you have to try

Margarita Anastasiou

Food has always had a big impact on my life. I have fond memories of my family gathering around, cooking, laughing and baking for hours, our hands caked in flour and the messy but magically fragrant kitchen. I remember my father mastering the apple pie cake and bragging about it, and he had every single right to do so. His cake was just heavenly! He was and still is an expert in making cake of any kind. Sometimes, when I talk about my dad’s desserts, many people think that he is a pastry chef. Well, he is not! He is a self-taught cook and baker, and lucky for us he passed his incredible cake recipes on to us

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When I migrated from Greece to the United States, I got a notebook with my parents’ recipes, which I still have. One of those is the following recipe — with a few of my own additions. As a Greek, I learned to love spices on foods as well as on desserts!

Fluffy and airy, like a cloud in your mouth, this cake is absolutely scrumptious! The cardamon is profound and the pears along with the red-wine chocolate syrup blends together beautifully. Not overly sweet, the spices are just right and crunchy on top. You can’t deny a piece of cake like this

Image: Rita Anastasiou/SheKnows

Cardamon cake with wine poached pears recipe


For the pears:

  • 3 medium-sized crisp, Bosc pears, peeled but whole, with the stem left on (Bosc pears hold their shape with the poaching and baking time, I could only find large ones)
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle red wine
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange peel
  • 1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

For the cake:

  • 1-1/2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 generous tablespoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

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  1. In a large saucepan, combine the pears, orange peel, wine, sugar, cloves, star anise, cardamom and cinnamon and poach for 30 minutes over low heat.
  2. Take the pears out of the liquid and set aside to cool.
  3. Add 2-1/2 cups (500 ml) of water to the poaching liquid and the semi sweet chocolate and boil to reduce the liquid by half.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  5. Butter a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
  6. Butter the parchment paper.
  7. Using a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy.
  8. Beat in the eggs one at the time. Don’t add a new egg until the previous one is incorporated.
  9. Add flour, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda and salt over the batter and fold it in.
  10. Spoon the batter into the pan.
  11. Press the pears in the batter, stem end up.
  12. Cut off the bottoms off the cooled pears before adding them to the batter so that they are flat and don’t tilt while baking.
  13. Bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake part comes out clean.
  14. Allow to cool in the pan, then gently remove the cake from the pan to a rack to cool completely.
  15. Serve with the reduced chocolate-red wine syrup.

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