Friday, 1 May 2015

pear, earl grey & cardamom cake - guaranteed to lift spirits

After several chaotic months of changes I had a little order, and thought it would be nice to settle into a routine. The kind of routine that paves the way for everything else, such as focusing on my creative pursuits, however this was not meant to be. I watched an interview with Oprah recently where she visited Stamford University and spoke about life and her career for a little motivation. Oprah always makes sense to me. I took away a few important nuggets of wisdom. 'Knowing what you don't want to do is a start.' So I know what I don't want to do and kind of know what I do want to do.

Wouldn't it be luxurious bliss being able to do what you love in life all the time and not just on the weekends and in stolen moments here and there? The interview certainly gave me food for thought. I began thinking of esoteric things such as the Universe and the power of positive energy. Totally believe in that stuff. Just as there are toxic people who create toxic energy when you’re around them there is something to be said for not holding onto that energy and letting it go. I smile here, as it reminds me of my sister's obsession with Frozen. All I can hear is her singing 'let it go.' 

It's the small pleasures in life that make it special. A good book, a happy song, or a film that transports me somewhere visually stunning, such as What Dreams May Come, with the late and brilliant Robin Williams. A piece of art that makes me weep with sadness or joy is another favourite. And I was thinking of particular things that I love right this moment. Things that I have that are uncomplicated and rewarding. Family, good friends and kindness from strangers (this one’s a big bonus in London!). The smell of something baking, taking over the kitchen. 

I practically ate half the loaf by myself over the course of a day and saved some for my sisters when we met for lunch. We decided to get coffee and dessert after a walk to burn off all the calories we absorbed. What would a sisters day lunch be without fries and dessert after all. Obviously I had cake with me in my handbag for the journey across two streets which meant they were forced to eat my cake before any of the shop bought stuff. There is a thing called loyalty and they had to agree my cakes are the best.

Adapted from May Wilson's recipe.

Ingredients (serves 8)
2 small ripe conference pears
100ml rapeseed oil
2 medium free range eggs
140g self raising flour
120g light muscavado sugar, plus 1tbs for topping
1 tsp vanilla extract
50ml of strong cold Earl Grey tea (from two teabags steeped)
6 green cardamom pod seeds, crushed to a fine powder
A pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180c or 160 (fan) /gas mark 4

Steep two earl grey teabags in boiling water for ten minutes and reserve.

Whisk eggs, oil and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the flour into the wet mixture in two or three increments.

Peel, core and chop 1 pear into small cubes and add to the batter, along with the salt and cardamom.

Add the cooled Earl Grey tea to the batter and pour into a lined loaf tin.

Peel and slice the second pear thinly and place slices in a single row across the top of the batter and sprinkle 1 tbs of sugar over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes until golden and serve with vanilla ice cream, if preferred. 

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