That all changed in 1996 when New York City’s Magnolia Bakery started making cupcakes with extra cake batter. After Magnolia’s cupcakes were featured on Sex and the City, it set off a nationwide cupcake craze. Cupcakes’ popularity continues; Barack Obama recently gave Joe Biden a dozen for his birthday.
In 1999, the owners of Magnolia Bakery, Allysa Torey and Jennifer Appel, published The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook: Old-Fashioned Recipes from New York’s Sweetest Bakery. The slim volume is filled with old-fashioned recipes for cake, cookies, and other desserts, all made with the best possible ingredients.
Last week, I had ripe pears that needed to be used immediately. Magnolia Bakery’s Pear Pecan Cake seemed a wonderful way to use them. I modified the original recipe by adding grated lemon peel to the batter and finishing the cake with a light lemon glaze. The clear lemon flavor balances the pear cake’s richness.
Pear Pecan Cake with Lemon Glaze is moist and delicious. With a cup of hot coffee or tea, it makes a decadent breakfast or mid-morning snack.
Pear Pecan Cake with Lemon Glaze (Κέικ με Aχλάδια και Πεκάν)
Adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
The batter for this cake is thicker than normal cake batter, so don’t worry if you can't pour it. Apples may be substituted for the pears, and walnuts may be used instead of pecans.
2 – 3 ripe pears (2 cups chopped)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. freshly grated lemon peel
1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped pecans
2 cups powdered sugar
3 – 4 Tbsp. lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Thoroughly oil a Bundt or tube pan. After it’s oiled, if the pan isn’t nonstick, lightly flour it to ensure the cake will properly release from the pan.
Peel and quarter the pears. Remove the core, cut each quarter in half lengthwise, and then cut each slice in crosswise pieces.
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir the oil, eggs, and vanilla extract into the dry ingredients. Fold in the chopped pears and pecans. Evenly spoon the batter into the prepared pan, lightly smoothing out the top. Bake for 60 minutes or until a thin skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes, turn the cake upside down onto a wire rack to release it, and finish cooling the cake.
Mix the powdered sugar and 3 Tbsp. lemon juice in a small bowl. If the glaze is too thick, mix in the remaining lemon juice. Spoon the glaze over the very top of the cake so that it drips down the sides and center of the cake.
Slide the cake onto a serving plate. To store, cover the cake with aluminum foil.
Nuria, who writes Spanish Recipes from Barcelona, Spain and Maryann of Finding La Dolce Vita from the state of New York are two of the world’s nicest people. Both are excellent cooks. At their requests, I’ve completed a know-your-fellow-bloggers meme. For those whose blogs I’ve named below, if you want to complete the meme on your blog, feel free, but please don’t feel obligated, to do so. Here goes:
Who are the last 10 people who commented on your blog?
10) Peter from Souvlaki for the Soul
9) Joan from FOODalogue: Meandering Meals and Travels
8) Maria from Organically Cooked
7) MAG from Hommus & Tabbouli
6) Lydia from The Perfect Pantry
5) Maryann from Finding La Dolce Vita
4) Mariana from History of Greek Food
3) Bijoux from Keep It Simple
2) Kalyn from Kalyn’s Kitchen
1) Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook
Now answer the following:
1. Has number 10 taken any pictures that moved you? Peter at Souvlaki for the Soul takes some of the best pictures in the food blogosphere. His moody pictures of the Acropolis may be the best I’ve ever seen of this well-photographed site.
2. Have you ever tried something from number 9's blog? I only recently learned about Joan’s blog. As someone who grew up eating Pigs in a Blanket and who loves greens of all kinds, I want to try Joan’s recipe for “This Ain’t Yo Mama’s Pigs in a Blanket.” It looks wonderful.
3. Do you wait excitedly for number 8 to post? Yes. Maria of Organically Cooked is one of my favorite writers; as a storyteller she is without peer among food bloggers.
4. If you could give one piece of advice to number 7 what would it be? MAG’s Lebanese recipes at Hommus & Tabbouli are mouth-wateringly good. She doesn’t need any advice; MAG knows what she's doing!
5. Does number 6 reply to comments on her blog? Yes, Lydia does reply to comments left on The Perfect Pantry. She also gives us a weekly peek into other people’s pantries, a series I find endlessly entertaining.
6. How did number 5's blog change your life? When Finding La Dolce Vita had its first anniversary, Maryann did a drawing for an anniversary present that I was lucky to win. The package included a pizza chopper that has revolutionized how I cut up pizzas and tarts. Thanks Maryann!
7. How often do you comment on number 4's blog? I comment on most, if not all, posts on Mariana’s blog, History of Greek Food.
8. What is your favorite post from number 3's blog? Bijoux of Keep It Simple helps keep me current on modern design trends. Her latest post on a cutting-edge Japanese product is my current favorite.
9. Where is number 2 from? Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen is from Salt Lake City, Utah.
10. Has number 1 blogged something that inspired you? Pretty much everything Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook puts on her blog is inspirational. Her photographs jump off the screen and her descriptions of food are smoothly creative.
11. Do you know any of the 10 bloggers in person? Yes, I know Maria from Organically Cooked.
12. Do any of the 10 bloggers know each other in person? Yes, Kalyn and Lydia met at this year’s BlogHer conference. Maria from Organically Cooked and Mariana from History of Greek Food are friends. If others know each other, it’s news to me.
13. Out of the 10, who updates her blog most frequently? Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen, Queen Mother of Weekend Herb Blogging, updates most frequently.
14. Which of the 10 makes you laugh? Maria’s quirky sense of humor is just one of the reasons I keep going back to Organically Cooked.
15. Which of the 10 makes you cry (good or bad tears)? Cry? Why in the world would I cry when reading about good food and looking at pictures that make my mouth water?
This is my recipe for Bookmarked Recipes, hosted and created by Ruth of Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments.