Buttermilk Spice Cake

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2 1/2 cups cake flour (312g)
1 tsp. baking powder (4g)
1 tsp. baking soda (6g)
1 tsp. salt (4g)
1 tsp. cinnamon (2g)
½ tsp. ground cloves (1g)
½ tsp ground black pepper (1g)
½ cup soft butter (115g)
½ cup light brown sugar firmly packed (100g)
1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract (5ml)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (300ml)

Wine Poached Pears & Glaze
1 cup wine (240ml)
1 1/2 cups water (360ml)
1 cup sugar (200g)
½ tsp. whole black pepper (1g)
½ tsp. whole cloves (1g)
4” whole cinnamon stick (10cm)
2 pears, peeled but left whole
½ cup powdered sugar (100g)


Preheat your oven to 350°F (176°C). Grease and flour a 10 or 12 cup (2.3lt or 2.8lt) Bundt cake pan. Sift the cake flour together with the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, combine butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla until fluffy, about five minutes. Scrape the inside of bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk and beat until smooth between additions.

Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Cool the cake for 10 minutes in the pan, and then flip over and remove the cake from the pan. Cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

To make the wine poached pears, combine the wine, water, sugar, black pepper, cloves and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and add the whole peeled pears. Poach the pears over medium heat for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pears from the poaching liquid. Continue to simmer the liquid for another 10 minutes. Strain out the spices.

Place the powdered sugar in a small bowl. Add 2 tbsp. (30ml) of the poaching liquid to the powdered sugar and stir until smooth. (Reserve the remaining poaching liquid for another use.)

Slice the whole pears in half, remove the core and seeds and slice. Decorate the top of the cake with the pear slices. Drizzle the warm glaze over the top.