Everyone needs a recipe for a quick bread that is simple enough to make on a whim but elegant enough for company. This little cake, with chunks of fragrant pear, crystallized ginger, and toasted pecans is perfect for any occasion. Use a firm-ripe Bosc pear, which holds its shape well after baking.
Yield: Makes 8 servings
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
½ cup pear or apple juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
1 large Bosc pear (about 8 ounces), peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
¼ cup minced crystallized ginger
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour an 8½ × 4½ × 2½-inch loaf pan and tap out the excess flour.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine. In another bowl, whisk the sugar, pear juice, oil, and eggs until well mixed. Pour into the dry ingredients and whisk just until smooth. Fold in the pear, pecans, and ginger. Scrape into the pan and smooth the top.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Unmold the cake and cool completely.