This simple, fruit-based dessert may seem a bit too plain for your tastes, but when the multiple components are combined the result is surprisingly good. While the recipe is for an orange-flavored pound cake, you can also substitute in lemon zest or vanilla beans, for a lemon or vanilla-flavored cake instead.
Adapted from Napa Rose at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at Disneyland Resort, Calif.
For the pound cake:
Preheat oven to 325. Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment at medium-high speed, about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add eggs one at a time with the mixer at medium speed. Scrape down the bowl, then add vanilla extract and orange zest, and mix well.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add half of flour to the creamed butter mixture, and mix at the lowest speed. Add cream and mix until combined. Add second half of flour mixture and mix just until everything is incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, and bake about 1 hour or until golden and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Cool in pan 30 minutes, and then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the pears:
Combine wine and honey in a large saucepan; bring mixture to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until mixture is slightly thickened and golden in color.
Add pear halves, rounded side down, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover pan, and simmer about 8-10 minutes or until pears are tender, basting occasionally. Serve warm.
For the compote:
Peel and core apple, then chop into ¼-inch dice; set aside. Chop apricots into ¼-inch pieces; set aside.
Cook honey in a medium, nonstick saucepan over medium heat about 2 minutes, until melted and fragrant. Add fruit, and stir to combine. Cook about 4 minutes or until fruit begins to soften. Add wine, and cook about 5-8 minutes or until fruit is softened and mixture is thickened. Serve warm.
For the sauce:
Combine apricots, white wine, orange juice, water, and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat, and simmer until apricots are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
Set aside to cool for 5 minutes, and then pour mixture into a blender; purée until smooth.
Pour purée through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on solids with a rubber spatula. Discard solids.
Slice pound cake into 8 slices (reserve any extra slices for another use).
Place a slice of cake on each serving plate, and top with a still-warm honey-poached pear half.
Spoon dried fruit compote over top and drizzle plate with apricot sauce.