Spiced Pear and Pecan Flapjacks With Cream Cheese Icing – A Satisfying Autumnal Bake

The very lovely Steven, from The Speculaas Spice Company, recently sent me some of his speculaas spice mix to use in some recipes. I am a massive fan of this spice mix, and you can read a previous post I wrote about it HERE.

I love everything about it: the warming fragrance it spreads around your home while it is baking, the sweet flavours of all the spices combined into one mix, the versatility of it. If a recipe calls for ground cinnamon, you can guarantee this spice mix will take that recipe to a higher level instead.

One of my favourite fruits has to be the pear. So sweet and bursting with flavour, and so refreshing with the amount of juice they have. My favourite pear of all is the Conference variety. The riper, the better. I always have plenty in the fruit bowl at this time of year. I have such a sweet tooth, so they are great for satisfying my sugar cravings.

Pears and cinnamon (and Christmassy spices) are a match made in heaven, so I decided to come up with a recipe using my favourite pears and the speculaas spice mix. I wanted to bake something delicious for my son and Other Half to have in their lunchboxes, and flapjacks are always a winning lunchtime treat. I usually make them quite thin, but this time I wanted chunkier flapjacks, so used a smaller tin to bake them in, and was then able to cut them smaller too. We all adore pecan nuts too, so I always have plenty in the cupboard. Pears and pecans go so well together too, so I decided to add some for extra texture and flavour.

In a previous post I wrote about chocolate flapjacks, I mentioned the easy-to-remember ingredient ratio I always use to make them. (You can read that post HERE). As I was going to be using very sweet ripe pears, I reduced the amount of sugar in this recipe as I didn’t want them to be sickly sweet. It took me a couple of attempts to get the quantities right, but to me, this is now spot on.

I grated the pears using the large coarse side of my grater and as the pears were so soft and ripe, they created a lot of juice. In my first attempt I drained that into a cup and didn’t include it in the recipe. (OK, I admit it – I drank it). I worried the mixture would be too sloppy with it. In my next attempt though I included it, and it added so much extra flavour, and didn’t affect the texture.

When the flapjacks were cool, I made a cream cheese icing to drizzle on top, just because I love it with anything that has cinnamon in. If it goes well with cinnamon, it definitely goes well with speculaas spice mix! You can leave this off if you prefer though.

 

SPICED PEAR AND PECAN FLAPJACKS WITH CREAM CHEESE ICING

200g unsalted butter

160g soft light brown sugar

3 heaped tbsp golden syrup (or you could use honey if you prefer)

80g pecan nuts, roughly chopped

1 rounded tsp speculaas spice mix

4 ripe pears, coarsely grated

400g rolled or porridge oats

FOR THE CREAM CHEESE ICING (OPTIONAL BUT RECOMMENDED):

75g icing sugar

20g cream cheese

splash of milk

 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan/Gas 4. Lightly butter a 20cm square baking tin. Cut a strip of baking paper the same width as your baking tin, so that it is long enough to line the bottom and 2 sides with a bit extra at each end to help to lift it out of the tin.
  • Place the butter, sugar, syrup and spice into a large saucepan, and heat gently until the butter has cmpletely melted and the sugar has dissolved, stirring regularly. Bring it to a gentle boil and let it simmer slowly for 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and add the pecans, grated pear and any pear juice. Mix well.

  • Add the oats and mix until the oats are completely covered and the mixture is evenly distributed.
  • Tip the mixture into your baking tin and press down firmly with the back of a spoon until level.

  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes until the edges are starting to go a bit crispy and the top is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven.
  • Leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes, then use the edges of the baking paper to lift the flapjack out on to a wire cooling rack. Leave to cool completely, then place on a chopping board and cut into required sizes. (I cut mine into 12 pieces).

  • To make the cream cheese icing, mix the icing sugar and cream cheese together until smooth. Add a splash of milk to make it a bit runnier so it is easy to pipe or drizzle.
  • Spoon the icing into a small disposable piping bag or sandwich/freezer bag, snip off the tip of the corner to make a very small hole, and pipe the icing on to each flapjack piece. Leave for the icing to set for around 20 minutes, or eat immediately if you can’t resist the runny icing.

You could use grated apple instead of grated pear, although I haven’t tried that yet. You could swap the pecans for any other variety you prefer. Walnuts would be amazing too.

I hope you love these as much as we do! Don’t forget to check out Steven’s amazing speculaas spice mix! If you like cinnamon, or mixed spice, you will absolutely LOVE speculaas. Check it out HERE.

HAPPY BAKING!

 

 

Coffee Fudge Cake with a Versatile Coffee Fudge Icing

I absolutely love coffee cake. I don’t make it as often as I’d like though as I tend to bake cakes that everyone in my house will eat, and my son detests coffee! Luckily for me, it is a good friend’s favourite cake so I can make one and give her half of it. Sharing is caring, as they say. Whoever they are. But anyway, as I’m in a sharing kind of mood, I thought I’d share this scrumptious recipe with you. I don’t know where the recipe originally came from, but a friend gave it to me after I fell in love with the cake when she made it. She has a huge folder of recipes and this one was handwritten in there from about 20 years ago, so no idea where it is from.

This makes a delicious, fairly dense cake which is flavoured with Camp Coffee, a chicory and coffee essence. It tastes exactly like coffee though. I keep a bottle of Camp Coffee in my house just to make this cake as it is perfect for it. The cake is filled and topped with a coffee fudge icing which I could quite happily eat straight out of the bowl. The icing sets to a fudge-like consistency which is so irresistible. I top mine with chopped walnuts as coffee and walnut is such a classic combination, but you can leave the nuts out if you don’t like them.

As the cake is quite dense, it is ideal for baking in a bundt pan, as it will hold it’s shape beautifully. The icing would pour down over the bundt perfectly and then set in all the crevices. I do usually make it as a bundt but decided to do it in a normal cake tin this time, as not everyone has bundt pans in their cupboards.

A quick word about the icing… the longer you beat it, the thicker it becomes as it cools down. This is fine if you are spreading it on a normal cake. If you want to use it to pour it over a bundt though, you’ll need to beat it until it thickens slightly but is still fairly runny. It will start to firm up as it hits the cold cake, so you don’t want it too thick beforehand. Also, because it sets as it cools, do not make this until your cake is cool and you are ready to use it. It will just go too hard if you leave it on the side while your cake cools.

You could use the icing for many other things as well as this cake. It would be delicious poured warm over ice cream, although you wouldn’t need to make as much. You could use it as a layer in a chocolate and coffee tart or to top a traybake. You could use it as a filling for doughnuts. The list is endless. It is ideal for so many things as it sets so well. You could even let it firm up a bit and then roll into balls, flatten, cover in chocolate and there you have delicious coffee cream truffles!

 

COFFEE FUDGE CAKE

FOR THE CAKE:

170g unsalted butter, softened

170g soft light brown sugar

3 large eggs, beaten

2 tbsps Camp Coffee (or coffee essence)

170g self-raising flour, sifted

 

FOR THE ICING:

55g unsalted butter

110g soft light brown sugar

3 tbsps Camp Coffee (or coffee essence)

2 tbsps single cream

200g icing sugar, sifted

 

TO DECORATE (OPTIONAL):

50g chopped walnuts

 

TO MAKE THE CAKE:

  • Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4/ 180C conventional/ 160C Fan oven. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin, or 2 x 20cm sandwich tins. (I prefer to make it in one deep cake tin).
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs and Camp Coffee/coffee essence. (If it looks like the mixture is starting to curdle, add a spoonful of the flour and continue mixing until it is smooth again).
  • Tip the flour in to the bowl and, using a large spoon or spatula, gently fold it in until it is all combined and there are no lumps of flour.
  • Pour the mixture into your prepared tin(s). If baking it in one tin, bake in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes until springy to touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If baking it in 2 tins, bake for around 20 minutes, or until springy to touch and a skewer comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the tin(s) for 5 minutes then turn out on to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • If you have used one tin, split your cake in half horizontally when it is cool.

TO MAKE THE ICING:

  • Place the butter, sugar, Camp Coffee/coffee essence and single cream into a saucepan, and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from the heat and gradually add the icing sugar, mixing well after each addition. Beat with a wooden spoon until all the lumps disappear and the mixture is smooth and silky.
  • Continue beating for about 2 minutes until the icing is thick enough to spread. Use immediately.

TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:

  • Place one layer of the cake on your serving plate. Pour half of the coffee icing on to it and spread all over evenly. Place the other cake layer on top, and pour the rest of the icing on top of this. Spread evenly to completely cover it. (If the icing is getting too thick, dip your palette knife or spatula in warm water to make the spreading easier).
  • While the icing is still wet, sprinkle the chopped walnuts over, if using.

 

I hope you love this as much as I do. If you like coffee, I think you’ll become a little bit addicted to the icing! Enjoy 🙂