Pears are predominant in this dessert. The spectacular flavors of pear brandy, pear nectar, and fresh pears in the sauce dress up any dessert buffet.
Butter a 10-inch fluted tube pan. Coat lightly with flour, shaking out excess. Set pan aside.
In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a very large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and vanilla; beat on high speed until mixture is smooth and light, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until combined.
Alternately add milk and the 1/4 cup brandy to flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition and stopping occasionally to scrape the bowl. Fold in pears and orange peel. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly.
Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 1 hour 10 minutes or until golden brown and a long wooden skewer inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
For glaze, combine granulated sugar and the 1/3 cup brandy in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture just boils and sugar is dissolved.
Remove cake from pan and place on wire rack. Place a piece of parchment or waxed paper under the wire rack. With a pastry brush, brush the warm glaze over the entire surface of the cake. Cool cake completely. Serve with Pear Sauce. Makes 16 servings.
For Pear Sauce, in a medium saucepan combine pears, lemon juice, pear nectar, sugar, and vitamin C tablet. Bring to boiling over medium heat; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until pears are soft. If mixture seems dry and in danger of scorching, add a bit more nectar to pan.
Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Puree mixture in a food processor or blender; strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Stir in vanilla. Taste sauce and adjust sugar if necessary. Cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 72 hours. Makes about 2 cups.
Store cooled cake tightly wrapped at room temperature up to 2 days.