Very much cobbled together from ingredients that I happened to have in the cupboard, such as a packet of semolina that was almost out of date and some very hard pears from a friend’s tree, this recipe for spiced pear and blueberry semolina cake is my effort for this week’s ‘free from’ Great Bloggers Bake Off. This recipe is free from refined sugar and is also dairy free. It’s not gluten free as semolina is made from wheat.
The result was a lovely sweet cake, with a hint of spice and honey and lovely soft bites of pear and blueberries. I’m pretty sure Paul Hollywood wouldn’t have approved as he didn’t seem to think much of the pear and apple cakes that were offered up on last night’s Great British Bake Off! But R and Miss R enjoyed the cake – although both picked out the pears. If I make it again I’ll be blending or mashing them into the batter before baking.
I’ve never baked with semolina before. It gave the cake an interesting, slightly grainy texture that works well with the honey taste. It’s a delicate cake so if you do make it take great care when moving it to avoid it falling apart.
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 tsp ground ginger
zest and juice of one lemon
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tsp baking powder
60ml olive oil
First prepare the spiced pears. Peel, core and dice them. Place in a saucepan, cover with water and add the spices. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for around 30 minutes until soft and most of the water has evaporated. Remove the whole spices and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and base line a 20cm square cake tin.
Mix the lemon, honey, eggs, semolina, baking powder and olive oil together. Stir through the pears and the blueberries, pour into the tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out (carefully as it’s a bit fragile) onto a wire rack. Delicious warm or cold.