Fresh Fridays: Pears & Chai

Chai Olive Oil Cake | Domestic B(i)atch


Happy Friday!!! I’ve decided to revisit pears because I realized after making my dessert lasagna, that I actually really enjoy pear desserts. But I took a whole new turn on it.  I wanted to poach them. But what to do with them after that? How about “pair” (hehe) them with a spicy chai cake? Chai is one of those spice mixtures that’s perfect for the fall and winter.  I’m not a huge tea drinker, I’m a coffee cheerleader through and through.  But sometimes, on occasion, I need a little chai in my life.  I’ll have some chai tea with milk, or treat myself to a chai latte. It is surprisingly difficult to find chai spice in stores, though it is available to buy online.  But I made my own.  And it helped make an earthy, fragrant, wonderfully moist cake.  Did I mention this was my first time making an olive oil cake? I’m a huge fan.  While I read a bunch of reviews that said it was “too oily” for their taste I thought it was divine.  And I cannot believe how delicious a cake can be without any butter! This cake doesn’t even need a mixer, only two bowls! How easy is that?! Cray cray.

I thought poaching pears was a lot harder than it really is.  Like cooking, you can throw the flavors you prefer into the pot to infuse the pears.  And this is where I strongly recommend using real vanilla beans and seeds in the poaching liquid.  When you cut into that pear and take a bite of it with some cake on the side, there is this subtle but very noticeable vanilla flavor that is so good. It’s a simple looking dessert, but it has a ton of flavor that all melds together to create autumn personified. Maybe I’m making this for my Christmas gathering? I just might.

Chai Olive Oil Cake with Poached Pears
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For the Poached Pears
  1. 4 Bosc Pears, peeled, halved and seeds removed
  2. 1 bottle sweet wine, I used Moscato
  3. 1 cup simple syrup
  4. 1 vanilla bean
  5. 2 tbsp honey
  6. 1 cinnamon stick
  7. 1 tbsp sliced fresh ginger
For the Cake
  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1 1/4 cup sugar
  3. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  5. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  6. 1 1/3 cup olive oil
  7. 1 1/4 cup milk
  8. 3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  9. 1/2 cup orange juice
  10. 1 tbsp minced ginger
  11. 2 tbsp chai spice
For the Pears
  1. Cut a piece of parchment paper into a circle slightly smaller than your medium saucepan, cut a small circle out of the center
  2. Pour the bottle of sweet wine and simple syrup into a medium sized sauce pan
  3. Split the vanilla bean and scrape seeds into the pan, then add in the pod
  4. Add in honey, cinnamon stick, and ginger and bring to a simmer, allowing for the honey to melt
  5. Add in pears and allow to simmer about 15-20 minutes, a paring knife should easily go through the pear when ready
  6. Place the parchment paper over the pears for the duration to help keep all of the pears under the liquid, press down with a slotted spoon now and then to make sure all pear are fully immersed
  7. Once ready, remove from heat and allow to cool
  8. If not using immediately, place pears in an airtight container, then using a sieve, pour liquid into the container, allowing the sieve to catch all the excess pieces used to flavor
  9. Store in fridge and use pears within 5 days
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9" cake pan (at LEAST 2 " deep) with olive oil, place parchment paper in the bottom of cake pan and grease it as well
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and chai spice
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together oil and egg yolks until combined
  4. Then one at a time whisk into oil mixture milk, egg whites, orange juice, and minced ginger until smooth
  5. Whisk in dry ingredients about 1/2 cup at a time until all is whisked together
  6. Pour batter into greased cake pan and bake for 1hour-1 hour 10 minutes, cake tester should come out of the middle clean
  7. Allow to cool about 30 minutes in pan, then run a knife around the edges and place cake on a wire rack to cool fully
  8. When ready to serve, brush some of pear poaching liquid over top of cake, then carefully place pears on top, allowing excess liquid to drip off of pears into container before placing on cake
  9. Slice and enjoy!!
  1. *You can buy chai spice at King Arthur's Flour site, or make your own, there are a few recipes online, use the one that caters to your tastes the most
  2. *Simple syrup is made by boiling together 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water together. Wait until sugar dissolves, allow to simmer about 5 minutes, then take off heat and allow to cool. It can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for a while.
Adapted from Maialino's Olive Oil Cake
Domestic B(i)atch

Chai Olive Oil Cake | Domestic B(i)atchChai Olive Oil Cake | Domestic B(i)atch

This is one of those cakes that fills the house with smells of the holidays. It makes me really excited to decorate our tree!!!

I hate food going to waste.  Usually I bring the rest of my treats to work and it disappears within minutes.  But I had a few days off in a row and was worried the cake would go bad.  So why not bring it to my husband’s gig that night?? So I did! He played a venue in Brooklyn and I plopped that cake on a table off to the side with plastic forks and paper plates and by the end of the night, it was gone! I’m sure it was weird a cake was just hanging out, but I tried to spread the word it wasn’t poison. And I knew the more beers people had, the lower their standards would go as to where they’d find a snack. Mystery cake? Yeah, I’ll eat that.

Chai Olive Oil Cake | Domestic B(i)atch

I used the poaching liquid to glaze the top a little, adding moisture to the cake, not that it really needed it. A simple layer of buttercream with vanilla or even some orange could really be amazing on top of this cake, if you’re not interested in pears.


Chai Olive Oil Cake | Domestic B(i)atchChai Olive Oil Cake | Domestic B(i)atch

Chai Olive Oil Cake | Domestic B(i)atch

I love when things work out the first time. You should really….”chai” it. You like that??

We all deserve a little treat.....share!
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