On Tuesday, I had the lovely opportunity to see friends I hadn’t seen since before covid times. I don’t know about you, but there are still a few people in my world who I’ve been yet to reunite with since that void of time began nearly three years ago. My oldest friend (in years of friendship, not age!), Dani, invited G and I to her brother’s daughter’s birthday on what was a public holiday in Melbourne. Although I’d planned to take G on a day trip as I always do on this particular holiday, I said yes. It had been too many years since I’d been amongst these friends, who had always made me feel very much a part of their close-knit family from when I first encountered them as a big-haired 12-year-old. In these three years there had been much change for us all, and now on the other side of such distance there was a new baby and a bunch of kids so grown it was difficult to fathom.
This little teacake was a night-before effort with the last, sad pear I had on hand. I had made a teacake for my old recipe blog, but wanted to give it another try with a bit more love and fewer steps. It’s a very homely and buttery-soft cake, perfect for an afternoon indoors with familiar faces on a rainy day. I had a feeling of warmth and belonging on Tuesday that I had missed in their easy company. And G, although shy at first, became part of the gang of sugared-up kids in no time – that younger generation reminding me of just how long our family-friendship has endured, and what a very special thing this is.
2/3 cup plain flour
2/3 cup wholemeal flour
2/3 cup almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and a little extra for dusting
125 g unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 very ripe pear, diced (with or without peel is fine)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
flaked almonds to scatter on top
icing sugar to dust
Serves 8–12 (depending on portion size)
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 20 cm springform tin with baking paper.
2. Add the flours, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar to a bowl. Whisk for about 30 seconds to a minute until the dry ingredients are well combined. You may wish to make this cake gluten-free and use only almond meal, or a combination of almond meal and a gluten-free flour to make it a little more airy and teacakey in consistency. You can also only use plain flour, but I like the rustic wholesomeness wholemeal flour brings, with the almond meal adding to this, making it a little more delicate.
3. Make a small well in the centre and add the butter, eggs and vanilla. Gradually bring the wet and dry ingredients together using a spatula, until you have a rather thick, sticky batter. Spoon three quarters of the batter into the prepared cake tin and then scatter the pear chunks and blueberries over the top.
4. Spoon the remaining dough in chunks on top of the fruit, taking care not to cover these pieces entirely. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and the flaked almonds, then place in the oven for about 45-55 minutes. Mine is playing up at the moment so it was more like an hour! Sift a little icing sugar on top to dust, when the cake has cooled just enough. It’s lovely to serve this cake slightly warm still, with some dollop cream or custard (for you, Dani), or as it is. And with a cup of tea, as the name suggests.