A couple of weeks ago I was making cookies, not an unusual thing around here. It happened to be a Monday, and our piano teacher was here, as she is every Monday. You must understand something; when I make cookies, which is often as you guys know, I like to give some of them away, especially to someone worthy; someone that teach my children something, someone that has had a hard day or week, someone that just had a baby, or surgery, or to someone that is just kind. The kids piano teacher, Mrs. F, was here, so on her way out the door I handed her a plate of cookies. She was so appreciative and thanked me several times.
Something else you must understand; when you give a Korean something, you should always expect something in return. I forgot about this "Korean rule" while handing the Mrs. F the cookies. Well, the following Monday when Mrs. F returned to our home to give the kids their piano lessons, she came with gift in hand. Three beautiful Korean pears.
Now, I wish I had put something beside these pears before I took this picture so you could see just how big they are. The Korean pear is HUGE in comparison to the pears we eat at home. At least 2x's the size. The texture and taste is very different as well. I would compare the Korean Pear with an apple with a few differences. The Korean pear is not quite as hard as the apple, a little softer, a little juicer and a little less sweet. I'm not good at describing the taste of food - sorry. Just know, the Korean pear is very good, but don't bite into it expecting that "pear" taste you know so well. I wouldn't even call it a pear if that were not its name - well, maybe a little.
So, we ate one, I sent one to Hubby's office and the third I thought I would try to bake with.
As it turns out this cake was DELICIOUS!!! It was so nice and moist, you could eat it without the frosting, it is that good! Next time I think I am going to make it without the frosting. Don't get me wrong, the frosting is good, but it is also nice to save a few calories when you can. I got the recipe from here, a website I have been reading for a while. I have no connection to this person, other than she loves to cook and she appears to do it much better than I do. The original recipe is here, it is an Apple Spice Cake, so if you can't find a Korean Pear, I would make it with the apples, it will be worth your time.
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (see, it is already off to a good start)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk (I didn’t have butter milk on hand, so I made my own with 1 ½ TBL vinegar & filled the rest of the 2/3 cup up with milk)
I large Korean pear, pealed, and diced (very fine)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350. Spray an 8 inch square baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through salt.) Set aside.
Beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute, then gradually add the brown sugar and continue beating on medium-high speed until well blended and light, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time. Beat well after adding each egg, and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk in two additions. Mix just until blended. By hand, add the diced apple and chopped walnut just until incorporated.
Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 30 minutes (it took my cake about 40 minutes), until the top is light golden brown and a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack, then turn out onto a serving platter before you frost it.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 TBL butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 TBL pure maple syrup
1 cup powdered sugar
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the vanilla, maple syrup, spices and salt. Reduce the speed to low and add the confectioner’s sugar. Beat until well blended. Increase the speed to high, and beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes