Does it look like I’m trying too hard to be Oregonian? I mean, hazelnuts alone = reasonable. Pears alone = sensible. Pears + hazelnuts + hazelnut oil + Frangelico = I don’t even know. That’s like putting a bird on a cake.
To be fair, I don’t even have a pair of rain boots yet (and it turns out, they are actually very necessary). Perhaps I should try harder to adapt, but even with wet socks, standing over a ridiculously fragrant, fluffy, moist, fruit-studded cake is not a bad place to be.
You should know that I’m a wee bit thrilled to bring you in-the-process photos that aren’t completely gross. You stuck with me all this time in a poorly-lit kitchen, but no more! No more weird green tones. Just flour, yogurt, and big huge messes just barely out of the frame.
I should also tell you there’s yogurt all up in this cake. For that tender loving touch.
As for the hazelnut oil: It is not one to be cooked, but it’s excellent for baking. I used Emile Noel organic, which I was sent a while back but continue to use, because I like it a lot. Think rich, clean hazelnut flavor. If you don’t have that handy, vegetable oil will do just fine, although you won’t get as intense a hazelnut experience.
A nice thing about chopping the hazelnuts yourself is being able to scoop up all of that fine hazelnut … dust, if you will, and throw it right into your cake. “Dust” is probably a poor word choice, so if it’s not too late, think pixie dust, not gross dust, ok? Ok. Would “particles” be better? Hazelnut surface area maximizers? I need a thesaurus.
And please be sane and use a bigger mixing bowl than I did. This got messy.
Mess or no mess, the next 40-50 minutes might be the best-smelling ones of your kitchen’s life. Or this month, at least. (Let’s be real. Kitchens live a long time, you guys.)
Cakes, however, when they smell, look, and taste this snazzy, don’t live long at all. Strange, how that works.
Have a safe and enjoyable Halloween, all. Perhaps next year I’ll bring you something that makes more sense. Perhaps a ground beef mummy wrapped in lasagna noodles (perhaps not).
- Nonstick baking spray
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt (I used a 7-oz container of Fage 2%)
- 1/2 cup hazelnut oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon Frangelico or other hazelnut liqueur (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups diced Bosc pears
- 1 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped coarsely
- Powdered sugar, for dusting on top
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a bundt pan by spraying well with nonstick spray.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar with the yogurt, oil, eggs, Frangelico, and vanilla extract.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined, then fold in diced pears and hazelnuts.
- Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until the top of cake is browned and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes (oven times vary, so start checking earlier).
- Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto rack; let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar.