I made a few tweaks to the recipe to include Cognac (which always improves things) and maple. Finally, slowly but surely, that kilo of maple sugar is being put to good use. The pears ensure there is no dryness to the cake with the maple giving it an almost caramel flavour. Sweet, dense and with the occasional lump of walnut, this made an excellent accompaniment to the biggest mug of tea I could find.
Pear, Maple & Walnut Cake
350gr plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
175gr maple sugar (double this if you're using normal sugar as maple sugar is twice as sweet)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large pears (I used Comte)
160gr butter, softened
2 small handfuls of walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp icing sugar
A splash of Cognac or brandy
Preheat your oven to 175 degrees C. Grease a 9" springform cake tin.
Mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and bicarbonate of soda in a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped walnuts and then add the sugar, butter, Cognac, vanilla extract and eggs to the flour mixture.
Peel the pears and grate them. Mix thoroughly through the cake mixture so that it becomes batter and then pour into your greased cake tin and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour - 1 hour 10 mins - it should be browned on top and a skewer inserted should come out clean.
Cool the cake in the pan for about 20 minutes. Then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust it with icing sugar.