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Pear and Cardamom Spice [Gluten free] Bundt Cake

This originally appeared on Saltskitchen.net by Rebecca Saltsman. Rebecca will be teaching the March 2nd Class, “Favorite Gluten-free Potluck Dishes” here at Sustainable Food Center.

Gluten-free baking can be so finicky that using weight ratios rather than volume measurements allows us to obtain a more precise product. Okay, bakers say this is true no matter what, but Gluten-free baking needs all the help it can get to create lofty, risen, structured results. You know what I’m talking about. Baking gluten-free by weight can actually give us the freedom to create new recipes or alter our favorite gluten-full recipes. Think about it: white flour weighs in differently than sorghum cup for cup. So why substitute a cup? Substitute the weight instead. It makes perfect sense.

With the “change” of weather here in Austin, I decided to go with something autumnal, which often translates to “spices”. If you know me at all, you know cloves and cinnamon and the like aren’t really my bag. But cardamom. How I love cardamom. And my favorite fall fruit paired with cardamom? Pears. Pears infused with cardamom. Black pepper. Fresh nutmeg and maybe a hint of the cinnamon to round it out. Now those spices I can get behind.

I have now tested this creation many times to make it absolutely perfect: I’ve eaten it for breakfast, afternoon snacks, and several times instead of dinner. My favorite version does not follow Rhulman’s Ratio to a T: I went very light on the sugar as it was unanimous amongst my tasters that the less sweet versions were the favorite.

Using the sorghum and rice flours gives this bundt cake an amazingly light texture while the yogurt and olive oil give it the perfect moistness. Be sure to use stone ground brown rice flour. The first version I made used regular brown rice and it left the cake with a grainy texture that did not work with this recipe.

If you like cardamom and pears, this is a must-try.

Pear and Cardamom Spiced Bundt Cake

  • 3 cups ripe pears, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 3 pears)*
  • 6 to 8 cardamom pods
  • 100 grams white sugar
  • 100 grams brown sugar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 150 grams sorghum flour
  • 50 grams sweet rice flour
  • 50 grams tapioca flour
  • 65 extra fine (stone-ground) brown rice flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons guar gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
  • 5 eggs (approximately 275 grams)
  • 115 grams yogurt (1/2 cup)
  • 190 grams extra virgin olive oil (scant 1 cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter for greasing the pan

Prepare the cardamom pods: remove the green outer pod and smash the black seeds as much as you can with a tenderizer or a rolling pin. Mix the pears and the cardamom seeds in a small bowl. Add 3 Tablespoons of the white sugar. Add the the lemon juice and mix. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a bundt cake pan well. In a large bowl combine the flours, the baking powder, guar gum, salt, and spices.

In another large bowl beat the eggs until frothy. Add the remaining sugars and beat with a whisk or a fork. Add the yogurt and olive oil and beat well.

Pour the dry ingredients into the egg mixture slowly while whisking until just amalgamated. Gently fold in the pear mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and then raise the temperature to 400 and bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes. I found that the temperature difference helped create a nice texture around the sides and crisped up the top. The cake is done when it is slightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out dry.

Let cool for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack. Cool at least 20 minutes before serving. The cake is delicious warm and the texture on this one lasts in the refrigerator for a few days, covered. The texture didn’t change at all which is always an elusive bonus when it comes to gluten-free baking.

*Bartlett worked the best for me.