Wednesday, 20 February 2013

A Princess turns 9 with a Pear and Nut Crumble Cake

Sunday, 17th February 2013 marked the 9th Birthday of my (not so) little princess. I cant believe how the time has flown and how quickly she has grown up. As per tradition, we woke her up early in the morning and she looked under the bed for her presents.

This year she got a nice stash that included a set of headphones, a Faber Castell paint set, a clay art and craft set and a Litte Miss key-chain. She also got DrawSomething - a game that all of us can play together since she loves boardgames so much.

It being a Sunday, we went for the early Church service and while the kids had Sunday School, we rushed back home so The Lovely Wife could cook lunch. It was going to be a vegetarian lunch since the kids have given up meat for Lent.

The Lovely Wife, with some help from her Mother, cooked up a whole bunch of vegetarian dishes that were really tasty. The menu this year consisted of Vegetable Briyani, Stir Fried Ladies Fingers (Okra) Tomato Chutney, Yoghurt Curry, Tarka Dhall, Baji and Stuffed Taufoo (tauhu sumbat). Very Yummy indeed!

The kids had a lot of fun stuffing the Fried Bean curd with cucumber and turnip and topping it with chilli sauce.

Lunch was really delicious....

I had made the cake the previous night while The Lovely Wife stayed up late, really late, making pastry shells for fruit tarts. The kids had been clamouring for fruit tarts for quite a while and TLW decided she would give them a treat.

Both kids were a tad reluctant to share the tarts with everyone because they wanted it all for themselves! I dont blame them as TLW's fruit tarts are really something special! Still, there was plenty to go around.

For the cake, my princess had actually requested for a "big, big apple crumble" as The Lovely Wife makes a fabulous crumble that we all love. We told her that we could serve Apple Crumble for dessert but wouldn't she still want a birthday cake to cut? I then hit upon the idea of looking for a Crumble Cake and she seemed pleased with this idea. Her only concern was "will it still be like an apple crumble, Dads?"

I convinced her to let me try it out with the promise that if it didn't turn out well, I would make her Brownies instead. That was also my fallback plan in case the cake didn't turn out...

I surfed the web for some interesting recipes and hit upon this Pear and Pecan Crumble Cake recipe from I didn't have much pecans on hand but had a whole bunch of Almonds so I combined both almonds and pecan and renamed the cake a Pear and Nut Crumble Cake.

This is how the recipe goes.


172g (3/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
60g (1/3 cup plus 3 teaspoons) plain flour
65g butter
150g (1 cup, well rounded) pecan nuts

100g butter(if using unsalted butter, add 1/8 teaspoon fine table salt with the butter)
60g (1/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla essence)
2 large eggs (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
200g (3/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons) sour cream
100g (2/3 cup) plain flour
112g (2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) self raising flour
1 x 825g canned sliced pears, drained and diced (this should yield about 475g of pear)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Celsius fan-forced).

Grease a 23cm diameter (top inside measurement) round springform pan. Line base of pan with non-stick baking paper.

To make the crumble, place the brown sugar, flour and butter in a food processor and process until a crumbly mixture forms. Add the pecans and pulse just until the nuts are roughly chopped. Set aside until required.
Using an electric mixer or electric hand-held beaters, beat butter, brown sugar, caster sugar and vanilla together until pale and creamy. Stop the machine occasionally and use a spatula to scrape down the side and base of the bowl.

Add eggs and beat until well combined. The mixture may look slightly curdled at this stage. Add sour cream and stir until smooth. Combine the plain and self raising flours and sift in half of the flour. Stir gently until almost smooth, then sift in remaining flour and stir just until batter is smooth.

Spread half of the cake batter over the base of the prepared pan
Sprinkle with about one third of the crumble mixture.
Top with a layer of chopped pear.
Spoon remaining batter over pear and carefully spread to cover pear
Sprinkle remaining crumble over batter.

Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cover the cake with aluminium foil if the topping begins to over-brown. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean or with moist crumbs (but not gooey batter) attached. The top of the cake should be slightly domed.

Allow cake to cool slightly before removing from pan. Store cooled cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.

When I read the recipe, it kind of threw me as there was half the amount of butter and eggs that normally goes into a butter cake. I figured the addition of Sour Cream would give the cake some extra body. Then while making the cake it again seemed like there wasn't enough batter. This 'fear' was further emphasised when spreading the batter into the pan. However, once the layers of pear and crumble were added in, covered with the remaining batter and then topped of with more crumble it looked like the right height for a cake.

My concern then was how it would bake since there were two layers of batter interspersed with crumble. I really shouldnt have worried as the cake rose beautifully and came out of the pan really nicely as well. The crumble on top of the cake browns really quickly though so you really need to monitor it and cover it with Aluminium Foil once it browns to prevent it from burning.

Once I took the cake out of the overm that's when I was faced with another 'concern'. How would I remove the baking paper from the bottom of the pan??? What I did was to let the cake cool a little in the springform and then removed the springform to let it cool further. Once the cake was almost cool, I replaced the springform ring and then placed a cake board on top of the pan. I overturned it quickly and then removed the base and baking paper. I then placed another cake board on the base of the cake and turned it rightside up. A little of the crumble fell out but other than that there was no issue.

How did it taste? Rather delicious actually and it was really like a crumble dessert with some cake thrown in. The cake was moist and tender, almost like a pudding. Although I served small slices, the cake was quickly devoured and there was only a tiny bit left for us to finish off later at dinner.

The cake wasn't too heavy and it was delicious on its own but even better with a scoop of Vanilla Ice cream. I wasn't able to take a picture with the Vanilla Ice cream since the tub of icecream finished very quickly. Later at night I had a slice of cake with a scoop of chocolate ice cream but I have to say vanilla is definitely the way to go for this cake.

My princess was very happy with her birthday cake and birhtday lunch with the family. All in all another succesful birthday party and I hope I can continue to delight my children with new kinds of birthday cakes
each year!
Happy Birthday Sarah!


Foodycat said...

Happy Birthday to your little princess! Her cake looks beautiful.

bellini said...

Your LITTLE princess really is growing up. Not only is she a beautiful young lady but she requests an apple crumble for a birthday cake rather than a sugary cake. Happy birthday sweetie.


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