Pear Gingerbread with Lemon Buttercream

12-16 slices

Tip: This gingerbread is baked in a 9″x13″ cake pan. It is perfectly fine to serve from the pan, perhaps with whipped cream rather than frosting. It could also be baked in round layers and frosted all around, or even in cupcakes (adjust baking time accordingly). I like a more rustic look for my gingerbread, so I typically turn out the 9×13 layer, let it cool, then cut into either 2 or 3 equal sections to stack and frost between the layers. Quick, easy and an optional presentation style vs. in-the-pan service.

Pear Gingerbread
2 1/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup light molasses
1/2 cup hot water (from the tap is ok)
2 medium pears (approx. 1 lb.)

Bring butter and eggs to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line bottom (not sides) of 9″x13″ metal cake pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt.
Wash, dry, peel and remove seeds & stem from pears. Grate pear flesh into a bowl and have available with other ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar (I use a stand mixer, but a hand mixer will work.) Add eggs one at a time, then beat mixture until fluffy. Stir in molasses and hot water, then add flour mixture and grated pears and stir together completely. Do not overbeat or the cake may have air pockets. Pour into prepared cake pan.

Bake for 25–35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for about 5 minutes; if not serving from the pan, turn out of pan onto parchment paper to cool completely. Cut cake in half or three equal sections to make a 2-layer or 3-layer cake.

Frost layers with Lemon Buttercream (below), stack and decorate as desired. I like a few pieces of sliced candied ginger on top. Store cake in refrigerator for easier slicing.

Lemon Buttercream
1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter
4 cups powdered sugar
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from 1/2 lemon (refrigerate other half for another use)
2 teaspoons heavy cream (as needed for texture)

Soften butter to room temperature.
Remove zest from whole lemon onto a piece of waxed paper or into a bowl; reserve.
Cut lemon in half and juice 1/2 of the lemon (about 3 tsp juice).

Whip butter in stand mixer with a paddle attachment if you have one, or use a hand-mixer. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating after each addition. Add lemon zest and lemon juice and beat until fluffy. Gritty texture will turn creamy as the frosting is beaten (this may take several minutes). Add small amounts of cream as needed to change the texture to your liking. Proceed as stated in cake directions above.

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