Named after the queen of England and wife of King Henry VI, Marguerite d’Anjou pear cake is one of the most famous vintage French desserts. This ambrosial pear cake is loaded with fresh fragrant pears and bright citrus flavours; Marguerite d’Anjou leaves a very delicate taste as it melts in the mouth and releases a retro elegant aroma — sweet fruit and zesty citrus. This is not only a simple and elegant recipe but also a tried and tested one; my Marguerite d’Anjou pear cake recipe is vegan and vintage–inspired.
How to pair tea with Marguerite d’Anjou pear cake
For the tea lovers and fanatics who passionately seek tea and food pairings and yearn to explore the dynamic of aromas and flavours, I firmly recommend white tea infused with lavender blooms as the perfect sipping partner. Lavender white tea is a light–bodied tea that has a very distinctive but subtle flavour; lavender blooms add attractive, floral notes to the tea. Lavender white tea pairs well with light and creamy desserts, such as the retro Marguerite d’Anjou pear cake.
Vegan Marguerite d’Anjou Pear Cake
- For the pear cake:
- 4 pears
- 1 lemon, freshly juiced and zested
- 1/4 cup sunflower seed oil (plus extra for greasing)
- 1 banana
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 shot glass pomegranate liqueur or a liqueur of your choice
- 1 cup fine grain whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
Homemade Cream Topping ingredients:
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp semolina, fine ground
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1/2 lemon, freshly juiced and zested
Vintage Cake Decoration:
3 tbsp almond flakes
For the pear cake:
1. Wash the pears thoroughly. Peel, core and cut the pears into 8 slices. Place the slices into a medium bowl, pour the lemon juice into the bowl and add the zest; set aside for later use.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F). Using pastry brush grease a 22cm round cake tin with sunflower seed oil.
3. Place the banana in a large bowl and mash it. Stir in the sunflower seed oil, coconut milk and pomegranate liqueur.
4. With a rubber spatula mix all the dry ingredients — the flour, baking powder, vanilla powder, salt and brown sugar — together in the bowl.
5. Start folding and mixing the solids into the liquids. Note: With a rubber spatula whisk gently scrapping around the edge and finishing by folding the mixture on top of itself. Mix in half of the pear slices.
6. Place the batter very gently into the cake tin.
7. Arrange the remaining pear slices in a concentric circle on top of the batter.
8. Bake for 50 minutes.
9. Cool to room temperature.
For the homemade cream topping:
1. Wash the apple thoroughly. Peel, core and cut the apple into chunks; place the apple-chunks, coconut milk and water in a pot, set on medium-high heat. Let them come to the boil.
2. Simmer for 2′-3′ until the apple-chunks are tender.
3. Remove the pot from the heat; cool to room temperature.
4. Purée the cooked apple. Transfer the puréed apple back to the pot, set on medium heat. Gradually add the brown sugar and semolina into the pot stirring until completely dissolved.
5. When it starts to bubble, stir in the salt, vanilla powder and lemon zest until fully incorporated.
6. Mix in the lemon juice and remove the pot from the heat; cool to room temperature.
7. Top the pear cake with the cream.
Vintage cake decoration:
A simple, pretty and classic way to decorate a retro pear cake is to garnish with almond flakes.
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Photo: Sophia Melliar