Because Neil Perry has a passion for wine, he uses Sauternes in every component of this dessert, from the cake to the sauce. He also adds olive oil to the batter, which creates a delightfully moist crumb. More Cakes
Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly oil a 10-by-5-inch loaf pan with olive oil. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and eggs at medium speed until pale yellow and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the 3/4 cup of olive oil along with the Sauternes, milk and lemon zest and beat at low speed until blended. Beat in the flour, baking powder and salt. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then unmold the cake onto the rack to cool completely.
In an 8-by-11-inch baking dish, toss the pears with the Sauternes, olive oil and sugar. Roast in the oven along with the cake for about 40 minutes, until the pears are tender and the edges begin to brown. Remove from the oven and let the pears stand until cool, about 1 hour.
n a small saucepan, combine the sugar with the water and cook over moderate heat until an amber caramel forms, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the Sauternes and continue to stir until smooth. Transfer to a heatproof measuring cup to cool.
Slice the cake and serve with the roasted pears and a drizzle of the syrup.
The cake and pears can be made earlier in the day and kept at room temperature. The syrup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving.
Freshly whipped unsweetened cream.
White dessert wines go well with sweet but not too-sweet desserts like this cake.