Pear Walnut Cake


2 fresh USA Bartlett pears, cored 
1 cup packed brown sugar 
1/2 cup shortening 
1 egg 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 cups flour 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 cup milk 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (pecans may be substituted) 
Broiled Maple Topping


Finely chop pears to equal 1 1/2 cups. Cream sugar and shortening until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until mixture is well blended. Combine flour, spices, salt and baking soda; add to mixture alternately with milk. Stir in chopped pears and nuts. Turn into greased (or spray with a non-stick product) 12x8x2-inch baking pan. Bake at 350° F for 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Spread Broiled Maple Topping over warm cake. Broil 2 to 3 minutes (watching carefuly) or until bubbly. 

Broiled Maple Topping 
Melt 1/4 cup butter or margarine in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, 2 tablespoons maple flavored syrup, 1 cup flaked coconut, and 1/2 cup chopped nuts. 

Makes about 1 1/2 cups. 

For cupcakes, prepare same cake batter. Fill paper baking cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes. Cool. Frost with Caramel Frosting. Top each with walnut or pecan half if desired. 

Makes 18 cupcakes. 

Caramel Frosting 
Melt 1/4 cup butter or margarine in small saucepan. Add 1/2 cup packed brown sugar and 2 tablespoons milk. Bring to boil; cook and stir 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Cool. Beat in 1-2/3 cups sifted powdered sugar, until of spreading consistency. 

Makes about 1 cup.