1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 2 tablespoons melted
All-purpose flour for dusting
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sugar
6 firm but ripe small pears such as Seckel, cored and cut lengthwise into quarters
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Brush a 9-inch round springform pan with the 2 tablespoons melted butter, and dust the pan with a thin, even layer of flour, tapping out the excess. Set aside.
Whisk together the whole-wheat pastry flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat together the 1/2 cup butter and the sugar on high speed until pale, light, and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and beat again until well combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients just until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and neatly arrange the peat quarters on top, skin side up. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing it from the pan.
Note: to prepare the original version with the Italian prune plums, use 12 plums, pitted and halved, in place of the pears.
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