This recipe uses buckwheat flour, which is gluten-free (despite the deceptive name), making it a great cake for anyone with gluten intolerance. Pears have a delicate flavour, so it’s best to buy them ahead of when you want to bake and let them ripen in a fruit bowl, which will enhance the taste. The white chocolate icing lends a luxuriousness, making these perfect for a birthday or special occasion. You can also make this as one big cake in a 20cm springform cake tin (you will have to bake it for longer – an extra 5–10 minutes). Next time you make this cake, try adding a handful of toasted almonds to the batter before you bake it, for a new dimension.
For the cake
25g rolled oats
3 eggs, lightly beaten
125g sunflower oil
125g light muscovado sugar
100g buckwheat flour
½ tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt
180g (1 medium) pear, cored, peeled and grated
For the white chocolate icing
100g white chocolate, plus more to serve
100g unsalted butter, softened
50g icing sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 155°C/fan 135°C/gas mark 3.
Toast the oats on a baking tray in the oven for 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until they begin to turn golden brown. Set aside to cool.
Whisk the eggs, oil and sugar in a large mixing bowl (or use a food mixer fitted with the beater attachment), then add the buckwheat flour, toasted oats, baking powder and salt. Now add the pear and mix until thoroughly combined.
Divide between 16 cupcake moulds and bake for 20–25 minutes or until firm to touch and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Allow to cool in the moulds for 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack.
For the icing, melt the chocolate in a microwave on a low power setting, stirring often, or melt it in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water). Beat the butter in a large mixing bowl (or use a food mixer fitted with the beater attachment), then add the icing sugar and beat again. Finally, fold in the melted chocolate until thoroughly combined.
Using a piping bag with a fluted nozzle, pipe the icing on to each cake, or just smooth it on thickly with a spatula or butter knife. Finish by shaving white chocolate over with a vegetable peeler.