Supper club meets tomorrow night, and as I have been assigned to bring dessert, I did a bit of baking tonight. (I was quite pleased with my assignment, by the way, and also pleased that the organizer picked up on my hint that I enjoy baking.) I thought about pound cake - lemon or plain - with strawberries, but the strawberries at the store were pretty expensive, so I decided to do pear cake. Pear cake has the additional virtue of being a little unusual. It's a little more of a fall cake than a spring cake, but I think I'll be forgiven for that lapse as long as I don't try to wear white shoes.
The recipe is from Cook's Country, which is published by the people who put out my beloved Cook's Illustrated. Cook's Country is a little more homey, less exhaustive. You'll find very few water baths or double boilers between its pages.
So anyway, this was a pretty basic butter cake batter, with brown sugar instead of white, and with the addition of some powdered ginger. I believe it also had a quarter cup of heavy cream. I put in in a pan and pressed some sliced canned pears on top, the sprinkled with brown sugar and drizzled with more butter. It baked for about 35 minutes. I had the whole thing done - prepared, baked, cleaned up, and out of the oven - within an hour.
I'll dust it with some powdered sugar and bring some whipped cream, possibly the fabulous brown sugar whipped cream I debuted on the Thanksgiving pumpkin cheesecake a few years back: 1 part sour cream, 1 part brown sugar, and 2 parts heavy cream. Beat together until it's as thick as you like your whipped cream to be. You can add a slug of bourbon, but it's pretty near perfect as it is, glossily billowed on your cake, adding its rich and caramelly taste to every bite.