PEAR & ALMOND LAYER CAKE + Homegrown Kitchen Coookbook is coming!

PEAR & ALMOND LAYER CAKE with Manuka Buttercream and Chocolate Glaze

Writing a new cookbook must be celebrated and what better way than with cake! This cake in all its layered glory is quite spectacular, however, it is equally as nice as a double layer cake with whipped cream (or whipped coconut cream) filling and chocolate drizzle. Or halve the cake recipe to make a simple winter cake, it is wonderfully moist and perfect accompanied with an afternoon cuppa. Note: If decorating the cake with winter flowers be sure to remove them before slicing the cake as many are inedible, but they do add an extra WOW factor when you want to impress!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups desiccated coconut
  • 2 cups unbleached white or spelt flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 150 g room temperature butter or coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar I used rapadura - golden sugar or coconut sugar can also be used
  • 6 free range eggs room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked pear puree or mashed banana
  • 4 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Manuka Buttercream

  • 250 g butter room temperature
  • 3 tablespoon manuka honey
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar optional
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca or corn flour/starch to give the icing a little structure
  • pinch of salt

Chocolate Glaze

  • 1/3 cup cream or coconut cream
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 20 g butter or coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 50 g quality chocolate min. 70%, chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven 170C. Grease and line 2 x 17cm loose-bottomed tins. You could also use 2 x 20cm tins for a double layer cake.
  • In a food processor blend the coconut and flour together until fine (this can be done batches). Tip into a large mixing bowl and whisk in the salt and baking soda.
  • Put the butter/coconut oil and sugar into the food processor bowl and blitz until creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add the pear puree, almond butter and vinegar and pulse to combine. Tip the batter over the dry mixture and use a spatula to fold together. Pour evenly into the greased tins and bake for 40-45 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then remove and cool on a rack.
  • Make the Manuka Buttercream: Cut the butter into cubes and use a hand blender or food processor to blend until creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and whip until fluffy, this will take several minutes. Scoop into a bowl and chill for 20 – 30 minutes to firm up a little before icing the cake.
  • Make the Chocolate Glaze: Place the chocolate in a small mixing bowl. Combine the cream, honey, butter and cocoa in a small saucepan and heat over a gentle heat. Whisk to combine heating until little bubbles gather at the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat and pour this over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted. If needed place the bowl in a large bowl with hot tap water to soften the chocolate drizzle.
  • Arrange the cake: Once the cakes are completely cool they can be decorated. First trim the tops removing the domed surface then carefully slice the cakes in half. Place the first cake layer on a cake stand and spread 1/4 of the buttercream over the surface of the cake so it comes right to the edges. Carefully place the second layer and repeat with the remaining buttercream and cake layers, finishing with the fourth cake layer placed on top. Run a palette knife or spatula around the edge so to spread the icing around evenly and create a naked cake look - use extra buttercream to fill in gaps for a smooth finish (don't ice the top). Finally drizzle over the chocolate glaze letting it run over the edge a little. Make sure the glaze isn’t too warm or it will run down the cake and pool on the plate. Too cold (which we were bordering on this cold winter morning), and it won’t drip at all. Decorate with flowers, although these may be inedible they look beautiful, simply remove before cutting the cake. Enjoy, and I can't wait to share my new cookbook with you!

Notes

A special thank-you to my lovely friends who helped with this photo shoot - Claire for the foraged and homegrown florals and foliage, Miko for her expert cake decorating, Noreen for the use of her yoga studio, and my sister Ana Galloway for the photographs. It was a fun morning working together to style and photograph the images, and of-course eat cake!

I am writing a new cookbook!… I am so excited to finally share this with you. It has been a long time in coming, in fact it is almost 2 years to the day since my publisher Robbie made contact to discuss writing a new cookbook. My fourth cookbook will be published by Potton & Burton, who produced my previous books Feeding Little Tummies (2011) and Cooking for your Child (2006). They are also based in Nelson with an amazing reputation for exceptional quality books. My input is welcomed at every stage of the project including design, style, fonts, paper stock, cover etc., and I feel incredibly grateful to have this amazing opportunity so close to home. I have complete confidence they will produce a beautiful and functional cookbook.

During a meeting with my publisher Robbie he described my new book as ‘a book from the heart’, and I couldn’t agree more. I am pouring everything I know and passionate about into the manuscript. For some 18 years I have been studying, researching, writing recipes, and teaching others around New Zealand about cooking and eating well. This new book will encapsulate all of my experience and knowledge with over 100 recipes (update: the manuscript has grown to 120 recipes!).

When Robbie first contacted me (in June 2014) I knew that I wanted to write another cookbook. However, at the time my children were quite little (2 and 4), and having previously written 3 cookbooks I know how much time and effort is involved. In fact, not just the time but the intensity of the head space that is required. Keeping this in mind we settled on a publication date several years down the road. At the time it seemed like a lifetime away and barely worth getting excited about, let alone share here.

For 2 years I have been quietly researching, planning, testing recipes and testing again, getting feedback from friends, editing and researching some more. And now as I am in the final stages of editing it is truly starting to feel real. In less than a year – autumn 2017 – my new cookbook will be released.

I am photographing all the recipes myself, with extra images by my photographer sister, Ana Galloway. To say this isn’t a massive all-consuming project would be untrue, but having a long deadline has given me time to ponder and pace myself. Much thought and consideration has gone into the content and recipes. I have listened to your feedback through comments and emails, and questions at my cooking workshops. And I feel I have a pretty good idea of the recipes you would hope to find within the pages. I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming months.

Celebration Layer Cake with Manuka Buttercream + Chocolate Drizzle | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Pears Cake2 Collage

Celebration Layer Cake with Manuka Buttercream + Chocolate Drizzle | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Celebration Layer Cake with Manuka Buttercream + Chocolate Drizzle | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Celebration Layer Cake with Manuka Buttercream + Chocolate Drizzle | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

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Join the Conversation

  1. Alana Hawke says:

    Looks amazing. I can’t wait for your cookbook!!

    1. Thanks Alana, it will be launched March 2017. I can’t wait to share it!

  2. Kiora Nicola. I have had your lovely recipe book for a year and use it at least weekly.
    I have just started making the pear and chocolate layer cake( as my son requested a chocolate birthday cake) but as I have mixed the dry ingredients I see there is no cocoa. Is this a print mistake? The photo shows a chocolate looking cake.
    Anne Finlay

    1. Kia ora Anne, that is correct there is no cocoa in the actual cake, it is iced with a chocolate glaze. The reason it looks dark in the photo is that I used rapadura sugar (I do for most of my baking but it makes a darker looking crumb), but… if you want to make it more of a chocolate cake cake then replace 1/2 cup of the flour with 1/2 cup of cocoa. I am sure it will be just as delicious, now I want to make one my self!
      And thank you for the lovely feedback about my cookbook – that makes me smile 🙂
      Nicola

  3. Hi Nicola, I’m planning to make this cake this weekend for my partner’s birthday! I was wondering, could I successfully replace half or all of the desiccated coconut with almond meal? If so, do you know what the equivalent measure would be? As I know almond meal is a lot denser than coconut. Thanks so much! Enjoying making my way through the recipes in your cookbook 🙂

    1. Hi Angelka, thanks for checking. It has been a while since I made this cake so I can’t be certain of the quantity changes. If you have my HK cookbook then I would suggest making the Pear Layer Cake bases which is very similar and uses almond meal. You can then use the icing ideas in this recipe or combo of both.
      Enjoy!
      Nicola

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