Oh, no! I'm going to run out of Irish recipes! But not quite yet. This one is my interpretation of a lovely cake I had in a small café in Union Hall, population 192 as of the last census.
The place is run by two or three young women, and is open only for lunch and tea. When I was there, there was only one other customer, an older woman who the owners greeted by name. They asked about her recent trip to visit relatives, and we ended up chatting as well (something that happens all the time in Ireland). The woman asked for a piece of pear almond cake, and after seeing it, I ordered some as well.
I've had a go-to recipe for almond cake ever since I clipped it from a newspaper a few decades ago, and I love it. But the Irish cake was lighter—no almond paste. And of course I've got lots of apple cake recipes. But this cake was different—subtler. I even asked the baker whether she cooked the pears before adding them to the batter and she said yes—she poaches them lightly. (I knew it!)
1½ cups of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup wheat flour
½ cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 ripe pears, peeled and cut into half-inch chunks
Juice of one lemon
2 Tblsp sugar
1 Tblsp butter
Butter and flour a 9" round springform pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.