Petit Pear Cakes with Pecan Butter, Mascarpone and Maple filling

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As has already been established, I love peanut butter and maple syrup and where possible, adding them to whatever I make! So, for our Mother’s Day (more like mother-in-law for me, because Mother’s Day’s in May where I’m from) tea party I made these cute wee pear cakes to sandwich a light but lush pecan, mascarpone and maple cream.

It’s a tiny bit tedious, I won’t lie. It’s not one of those ‘all-in-one-bowl’ recipes I love, but I thought, it’s Mother’s Day, what’s washing up three bowls when women go through nine months and then all that labour pain to give birth?! It’s a day of perspectives people!!

Anyway…apart from the fact that it requires a few extra bowls, it’s not a difficult recipe so I do hope you’ll have a go – the result is absolutely, scrumptiously worth it!

Thanks to my husband for doing all the washing up and, Happy Mother’s Day!

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Makes about 12 petit cakes

For the Pecan Butter

200g pecan nuts (whole or halves)

pinch of sea salt

2 tsps maple syrup

2 tsps sunflower oil

4 tbsps cream (I used double cream, but single is fine too)

pinch of cinnamon powder

For the Cake

8oz softened butter

8 oz self raising flour

8 oz sugar

3 eggs

2 medium pears, peeled and grated

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp baking powder

For the Mascarpone and Maple Filling

250g mascarpone

100 ml double cream

5 tbsp maple syrup

Optional

An extra pear, cored, peeled and thinly sliced (for topping the cakes)

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To make the cake:

Turn the oven on to 180 deg.c

Line a baking tray with muffin/cupcake cases or prepare a muffin/cupcake tin. I used mini soufflé paper cases (to avoid washing up :P). They were about 5 x 4 cm.

Beat the butter with sugar until light and creamy.

Add one beaten egg at a time to the mix and beat the mix well.

Next, add the vanilla essence and mix in well. Now add the grated pear and mix well. 

Add the baking powder to the flour and sift. Then, using a folding motion, mix the flour into the batter.

Spoon the cake batter into your cases or tin, till they are about 3/4 full. Place some slices of pear, lightly on top. Do not press them in because they will get ‘hidden’ when the cake rises if you do.

Bake for 10 minutes. Gently open the oven, and turn the tray or tin by 180 degrees so the cakes brown evenly. Leave on a wire rack (or somewhere where air can circulate underneath) to properly and fully cool. 

To make the Pecan Butter:

IMG_20150315_185943Toast the pecans in a skillet over a medium heat. You’ll know they are ready when they start to look deeper in colour, shinier and smell amazingly nutty!

Next, put them in a food processor and add all the other ingredients – salt, maple syrup, oil, cream and cinnamon. Blitz away! You’ll need to stop every now and then and scrape the sides down. If it starts to separate, just give it a good stir and continue blitzing. 

You can keep going till you get a totally smooth paste or stop while there are still some tiny ‘bits’ of nut, whichever you like. if you want it smooth, just keep going, it will finally become a paste.

* I’ve given proportions for making more pecan butter than required for the recipe. This is because I tried making it with half the proportions and basically needed to keep scraping down the sides every spin of the blade, because there weren’t enough ingredients in the food processor for the blades to come in contact with them. Anyway, good thing is that this pecan butter is delish on toast with a bit of maple syrup dribbled over for breakfast, and will keep for a week in the fridge. 

To make the Mascarpone and Maple Filling:

Whip the mascarpone and double cream together until well combined and fluffy. Mascarpone is quite dense so don’t expect a cream that’s as fluffy as whipped cream and don’t over-beat as well! Add the maple syrup and gently mix in. Add 4 tbsps of the pecan butter and mix it in very well.

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Assembling:

Once the cakes are totally cooled, imagine each cake divided horizontally into three parts. Now carefully slice each cake at the 1/3rd mark. Don’t worry too much about this, if you slice it in half, it’s totally fine too!

Spoon some of the cream filling into the centre, don’t overfill and don’t spread it out because once you sandwich the cake, the filling will spread out naturally. If the cake isn’t cool enough, it’ll start to melt the cream. If that happens, no worries, just scrape off the cream, leave the cake to cool more and refill. All good to go for mum or mum-in-law! 

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