This soft, sweet, rich and heavy cake was written for Tin Can Cook, as I sat surveying tins of fruit and wondering how to plump up my pudding chapter. My eyes roved greedily over the tinned peaches, pears and cherries, looking for inspiration, and there it was. Fat, fulsome pears swimming sodden in their own slippery, succulent syrup – what a treat! I could barely wait as I sat typing up the recipe, my home rich with the scent of freshly baked goods, impatiently picking at the slice I promised myself as a reward for committing it to paper. I love this, and it’s all the better for using tinned pears; I hope you love it too.

If you do happen to have ripe pears needing using up, first quarter them and carefully scoop out the seeds with the point of a small sharp knife. Cut away the very tip of the stalk and the woody star shape at the base, taking care to remove as little of the flesh as possible in the process. Lay them in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with an inch or two of water, and bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until very soft – you may need to top the water up so do check back once or twice to see how they are getting along. Strain and cool and then start the recipe from the beginning.

Serves 6, from 31p each

75g applesauce from a jar, 13p (49p/280g, Asda)
75ml oil, 8p (£1.09/1l, Asda)
75g sugar, 5p (69p/1kg, Asda)
1 x 400g tin of pears or thereabouts, 79p (79p/410g, Asda)
200ml coconut milk or other plant-based milk, 35p (69p/400ml, Asda)
175g self-raising flour, 5p (45p/1.5kg, Smartprice at Asda)
1 tsp or 4g of bicarbonate of soda, 1p (69p/200g, Asda)
1 tbsp or 8g of ground ginger or cinnamon, 14p (59p/34g, Asda)
6 tbsp or 44g of dark cocoa powder, 26p (£1.49/250g, Asda)

Spoon the applesauce into a large mixing bowl and add the oil and sugar. Mix well with a fork or wooden spoon until well combined.

Drain the pears and reserve the juice – I pour mine straight into a glass, dilute with water and drink it. Delicious! Pop the pears into a small blender, if you have one, and blend until smooth. If you don’t have a blender, finely slice them by hand. You’ll get a different cake, but still a very delicious one. Either way, blended or sliced, pop the pears into the mixing bowl with the applesauce-sugar-oil mix and stir well. Add the coconut milk and mix well.

Measure in the flour, bicarb, ginger or cinnamon and cocoa, and stir well to form a smooth, glossy cake batter.

Turn on the oven to 180/350°F/gas 4. Lightly grease a 450g loaf tin and pour in the mixture. Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes, until risen and a small sharp knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven but leave in the tin for 20 minutes to cool and firm up, before turning out and serving.

Recipe from Tin Can Cook by Jack Monroe, available here. (This is an associate link which means I may earn a small commission on purchases made through this referral.)



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