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Gingerbread Cake
from the kitchen of Sharmagne Leland-St. John

3 cups white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small pear pureed (approx. 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup black strap molasses
3 eggs (4 if small)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease, then flour a 10 inch bundt pan. 
Sift all the dry ingredients, except the brown sugar, together in a large bowl. 
In a separate bowl whisk the buttermilk and the pear puréed.  Set aside.
Cream the butter and the brown sugar together.  Add the molasses, then the eggs one at a time.  Each must be absorbed before the next is added.  Now begin to add the dry ingredient mixture and the purée mixture a little at a time until you have a smooth batter.
Pour into the bundt pan.  Place in the center of the oven and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then gently remove from the pan and cool on a cake rack.

Carmelised Pears with Ginger Whipping Cream

3 tablespoons melted butter
5 small ripe pears, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4 inch wedges
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons crystalised ginger, minced

Melt the butter in an iron skillet until it sizzles.  Add the pears and toss them to coat with the butter.  Sprinkle the sugar over  them and stir.  Continue to cook over a medium-high heat, for approximately 5 minutes, stirring gently until the pears are caramelised.  Remove from the heat and cool at room temperature.  Meanwhile combine the cream and the sugar in a mixing bowl and whip into soft peaks.   Fold in the crystalised ginger.

To serve, place a slice of cake on a dessert plate, top with the whipped cream and slices of the caramelised pears.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


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