Ah, Valentine's Day.
The annual celebration of either:
a. the tacky greeting card industry, red rose growers and restaurants that double the cost of their set menu while popping up a couple of heart-shaped helium balloons that inevitably, depressingly, deflate into the chocolate fondants by ten pm
b. loved up couples everywhere wanting to demonstrate their undying devotion through a romantic card (such as this one), an extravagant bunch of hand-tied, over-sized roses and dinner a deux in the city's best restaurant
However you celebrate, and with whomever, make sure there's a cake involved. Because (WARNING: cheesiness alert!) cake makes every day better, not just St Valentine's.
Like this one.
Pear and Almond Upside Down Cake
For the crumble:
50g unsalted butter
75g plain flour
50g light brown sugar
50g flaked almonds
100g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp almond extract
150g self raising flour
a little dash of milk, if needed
3 pears, peeled, quartered and cut into cubs
1. Grease and line a 8 inch round tin. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/ 180C /160C fan/350F
2. Prepare the crumble: place the flour into a bowl and add the butter. Using the tips of your fingers rub the butter and flour together until the mixture forms bread crumbs. Add the sugar and flaked almonds and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Set aside
3. For the cake: cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, then gradually add the eggs and extract. Fold in the flour. Add a dash of milk if required to achieve a thick consistency.
4. Dollop the cake mixture into the prepared tin, smooth over the top and place the pear over the top. Sprinkle over the crumble and place in the oven for 35-40 minutes. The crumble should be golden and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean
5. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before placing on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar prior to serving
- Eat as pudding, warm from the oven, drowning in custard. Or serve a slice or two as part of afternoon tea
- We can partly blame the commercialization of Valentine's day on Richard Cadbury, a member of the infamous chocolate dynasty who introduced heart shaped packaging for his chocolates in the 1800s for Valentine's Day. But then again, his company also introduced the world to the Fruit & Nut Bar, so I reckon all is forgiven. Plus everyone (erm...me) loves a nice box of chocolates on Valentine's Day.