1 hour, 40 minutes
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
This cake, from New York pastry chef Karen DeMasco, has a moist and tender crumb. Though you can use another honey, DeMasco prefers the floral flavor of eucalyptus honey.
For the cake:
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, very soft, plus more for greasing pan
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey, preferably eucalyptus (see note)
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup 1/4-inch cubes peeled Bartlett pear (about 1/2 large pear)
For the cream:
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup fresh, whole milk ricotta cheese, drained of excess liquid
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Special equipment: a (9-inch) springform pan
Heat oven to 350º with rack in middle. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter.
In a food processor, pulse hazelnuts and 1 tablespoon flour until ground to a fine powder; transfer to a medium bowl. Add remaining 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda; stir to combine.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, ¼ cup honey, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, about 10 minutes. Mix in whole egg and egg yolk, one at a time.
In another bowl, whisk together milk and vanilla. In three additions, add flour mixture alternating with milk mixture, to butter mixture. Using a rubber spatula, very gently fold pear into batter, then scrape batter into prepared pan; place pan on a baking sheet. Bake, rotating halfway through, until the cake is golden brown and gently bounces back when touched, 40 to 45 minutes.
Transfer cake pan to a wire rack; immediately put remaining 2 tablespoons honey in a small saucepan; heat over medium-low heat, stirring to combine, until just warm and viscous, then brush mixture over cake. Let cake cool completely before serving.
For the cream: In large mixing bowl, vigorously whisk together cream, cheese, sugar and salt until mixture is smooth and reaches soft peaks, about 3 minutes.
Serve cake warm or at room temperature with a generous dollop of crema.
(Cake is best the day it is baked but can be kept at room temperature, loosely covered in plastic wrap for up to 2 days. Whipped cream keeps, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 4 hours).
Eucalyptus honey is available at fine supermarkets and cheese shops, or by mail order at gustiamo.com