Plenty of Pears Salted Caramel Loaf Cake

Plenty of Pears Salted Caramel Loaf Cake recipe from Hillary Davis's new book, French Desserts.Yield: 8 servings

For the cake:
3 large eggs, room temperature
¼ c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
¼ c. unsalted butter, melted
½ c. half and half
2 lbs. firm pears (3 to 4)

For the topping and sauce:
½ c. light brown sugar
½ c. half and half
4 T salted butter
½ tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with 2 sheets of parchment paper, one cut to overhang the short side by 2 inches and one cut to overhang the long side by 2 inches. Lay one piece on top of the other, so that they form a “sling” to lift out the cake after it is baked.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar in a medium bowl until pale and thick, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then add the flour, salt, melted butter, and half and half and whisk until combined.

Cut the pears, unpeeled, into very thin slices, then slice them in half and stir them into the batter. Scoop the mixture into the loaf pan, pat it down, and bake 45 to 55 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Take the cake out of the oven and increase the heat to 425˚F.

Make the topping and sauce: In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the brown sugar, half and half, butter, and salt and bring to a boil, then let mixture bubble for 2 minutes. Using a fork or skewer, poke holes in the top of the cake and pour half of the hot caramel sauce over the cake, reserving the other half. Put cake back in the oven and bake for another 12 minutes.

Remove cake from the oven, cool for 5 minutes, then gently lift it from the pan using the edges of the parchment-paper sling. Place the cake onto a serving plate and ease away the parchment paper. Cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

To serve, cut 1″ slices of the cake with a serrated knife and drizzle each with a little of the remaining caramel sauce.