Nothing quite says SEASON’S GREETINGS like a slab of a buttercream-coated, spiced sponge cake.
The most splendid cake for the festive season. Topped with a gingerbread fox, conference pear and rosemary forest, for a whimsical winter wonderland.
As far as flavour goes, the combination of sticky buttery toffee, sweet-sharp pear and warming spiced sponge works so perfectly. Be prepared for a two-slice situation.
As always, comment below if you have any questions ❤
- 260g pears (just ripe yet firm), grated – I leave the skin on
- 180g soft dark brown sugar
- 220g self-raising flour + 2 tbsp.
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 150ml rapeseed oil
- 2 large eggs, free range
- 65g ground almonds
- 345g butter, room temperature
- 700g icing sugar
- 5tbsp. milk
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 100g double cream
- 100g butter
- 100g Muscovado/ light brown soft sugar
- pinch of sea salt
+ sprigs of rosemary, candied almonds & 2 small conference pears.
- Start by greasing a deep 6-inch cake tin, and preheat your oven to 160°C.
- Place your eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl or freestanding-mixer, and whisk together until you obtain a pale and fluffy mixture that has tripled in volume.
- With the whisk still going, slowly pour your oil into the egg mixture, until fully incorporated.
- Stir in the vanilla.
- Next, sift the flour (holding back 2bsp.), ground almonds, salt and all of the spices into the bowl, and fold until all is incorporated.
- Coat your grated pear with the remaining 2tbsp. of flour, and finally, fold into the mixture.
- Pour into your pre-greased tin, and place into the centre of the pre-heated oven.
- Check the sponge after 40mins, by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake – if it comes out clean, and the sponge ‘springs’ to the touch, it will be baked through. However, it may take up to 60mins to bake depending on your oven. So keep testing until fully cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool completely before cutting.
- Whilst the cake cools, make the toffee sauce – place the butter and sugar in a heavy-based pan over a low heat, and stir until melted.
- Turn up the heat to medium and add the cream. Whisk continually until the sauce is bubbling and turns a golden brown.
- Remove from the heat and leave to one side.
- To make the buttercream, start by beating your butter in a free standing mixer/ large bowl for 2-3minutes until paler in colour and silky.
- Sift the icing sugar into the butter mixture in 3 instalments, beating until incorporated between each load.
- Add the milk, spices and vanilla into the icing and beat once again.
- To assemble, cut your cooled sponge into 3 even and flat layers.
- Put 2/3 of the buttercream aside for the coating of the cake.
- With the remaining 1/3 of the buttercream, dollop half of it onto the base sponge layer, and spread to the edges evenly.
- Add 2tbsp of toffee into the middle of the sponge, and spread leaving an inch border from the edge.
- Place the next layer of sponge on top and repeat the filling routine as above.
- Finally, place the last sponge layer on top.
- Frost the cake with the remainder of the buttercream, and decorate with sprigs of rosemary for trees, pears and candied almonds for a forest theme. I made my own little gingerbread fox too from a batch of gingerbread biscuits!
Lots of love, Sofia xxx