After you grill up an entire meal, it’s time for dessert. And this delicious cake can be made on the same heat the rest of dinner came off of. Enjoy this celebration of autumn’s beautiful fruits. It has the perfect touch of light sweetness and makes a great addition to winter grilling menus.
This is can be a delicate cake, so to help get it out of the baking pan, use a parchment sling. Pre-cut sheets of parchment paper, folding one to fit the pan and long enough to hang over two of the edges. It is important to let the cake cool out of the pan because the heat of the pan will create steam. As soon as the cake has firmed up enough to hold together, gently lift it out of the pan and set it on a rack to finish cooling. This helps the cake stay tender without getting too moist. The perfect consistency. Add some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for a perfect dessert pair!
Baking on the grill requires creating an oven-like environment. A gas grill gives you the most control, especially Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared, the most consistent and dependable on the market!
- 3 tablespoons melted butter, cooled to room temperature, plus additional for greasing pan
- ½ cup gluten-free flour blend
- ? teaspoon xanthan gum (unless your flour blend already includes it)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free)
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda (gluten-free)
- pinch ground nutmeg
- 2 small (or 1½ large) firm ripe pears
- 2 medium apples (not tart varieties), peeled
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- ? cup half and half, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- powdered sugar, optional
- lightly sweetened whipped cream, optional
- mint sprigs, optional
- Butter a 9-inch square baking pan and line it with parchment paper cut long enough to slightly drape over opposite sides to create a sling with handles. Lightly butter the parchment.
- Set out two quarter-sheet pans, stacking them one on top of the other. (See link above.)
- Place the butter in a heatproof non-metallic bowl and microwave about 30 seconds to melt it. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Set up the Grill: Remove the warming rack if you have one. Light a burner on one side of the grill and turn it to high heat to warm up the grill. Keep the lid closed. You need the grill at 400 degrees. If needed, you can turn on another burner and set it to low. Leave one (or more) burners off - the cake will bake off the heat. For a 3-burner TRU-Infrared grill, keep the far left burner on high, the middle burner on low and the right burner off to maintain the temperature.
- Combine the Dry Ingredients: In a medium-mixing bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum (if using), baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg. Whisk together until completely blended. Set aside.
- Prepare the Fruit: Cut the pears lengthwise; cut out the core and stem. Cut the pieces crosswise into uniformly thin slices. Place them in a mixing bowl. Cut the peeled apples lengthwise in quarters and cut out the cores. Cut the apples crosswise the same thickness as the pears. Add them to the bowl; set aside.
- Make the Batter: In the bowl of your stand mixer, place the sugar, lemon zest, eggs, and salt. Beat on low until combined and then increase the speed to medium. Beat until the mixture has increased in volume, the sugar is nearly dissolved, and the mixture has lightened to a pale yellow, about 2 to 3 minutes. (A hand mixer will take closer to 4 minutes.)
- While the eggs and sugar are beating, pour the half and half into a measuring cup with a pouring spout. Add the melted butter and vanilla. Stir together. When the egg mixture is thick and creamy, add the milk mixture and beat together. As soon as they are fully incorporated add the lemon juice and beat in. Stop the mixer and add the flour blend. Beat until just incorporated and the batter is smooth. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Use a flexible silicone spatula to be sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients or lumps of zest in bowl.
- Add the prepared fruit to the batter and gently fold it in, making sure each piece is coated with the batter. Pour the batter and fruit into the prepared baking pan. Gently press any pieces of fruit down into the batter so there are not too many sticking up. It may not look like there will be enough batter, but as the cake bakes it puffs up around the fruit and holds everything together.
- Grill-Bake the Cake: Set the baking pan with the cake on the doubled quarter sheet baking pans and slide it onto the cooler side of the grill. Close the cover and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes or until the cake has puffed up, the top is golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. About halfway through, spin the baking sheets so that both sides of the cake have equal time facing the heat.
- Place the cake in its pan on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges that are not covered with parchment, releasing the cake from the sides of the pan. Use the parchment sling’s handles to lift the cake out of the pan. Set the cake with the parchment paper on a wire rack and cool at least 20 minutes before cutting.
- Cut into squares and serve warm, at room temperature or slightly chilled. You can bake this cake up to 2 days in advance. Store, covered tightly, in the refrigerator. In many cases, gluten-free baked goods are better on the second day when the flours have had more time to absorb the liquids.
- To Serve: Place a square on each serving plate. Sift powdered sugar over the top and add a dollop of whipped cream on the side. Tuck a mint sprig in the whipped cream and serve.