Chai & Pear.

Tea is one of my biggest comforts. I drink all types of tea but my ultimate favourite is Chai. A blend of black tea, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice and black pepper. It was an obvious choice to use these flavours in my next bake!

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In the back of that photo you might spot a bottle of wine! Because the spicing in Chai works well when poaching pears I decided to use this as part of my cake. For this recipe I used a Bundt tin which requires good greasing, I use a sunflower oil spray and this seems to work really well for me. Heat a fan oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

Poached Pears

4 pears, ripe but firm

Bottle of red wine

225g sugar

4 strips of orange peel

1 tsp lemon juice

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp whole cloves

1 tsp whole peppercorns

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp allspice

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In a large pan add all the ingredients and bring to a gentle boil. While the sugar starts to dissolve peel the pears, leaving them whole. Cook the pears for 30 minutes turning occasionally. Leave the pears in the liquor until cool. Once cooled slice the pears.

Cake Batter

250g butter

225g sugar

4 eggs

250g plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of ground pepper

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Beat the sugar and butter until it lightens in colour and becomes fluffy. Add one egg at a time, mixing well in between. Mix in the dry ingredients being careful not to knock out too much air.

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Add a layer of the cake batter to the bottom of the tin and then a layer of the sliced pears. Repeat this until you have used all the cake batter. I managed to get two layers of pears and three layers of cake batter in mine. Cook the cake for 45 minutes.

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To turn out the cake leave it to cool for around 20 minutes. Turn it quickly onto a cooling rack and firmly tap the tin, the cake will slide out easily!

For decoration on this cake I saved about 400mls of the poaching liquor and reduced this down to a thick syrup.

The cake has a nice subtle flavour complimented well by the pears and wine!

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