A delicious Pear and Chocolate Cake. A rich, gooey, brownie-like cake, filled with whole tender gently poached pears. An indulgent, comforting cake that really brings out the flavours in this classic pairing.
I’ve been seen pictures of these type of cake swimming around Pinterest for a while. Gorgeous little round cakes, with the stalks of pears just peeking from the top, hinting at whats inside. Loaf cakes sliced opened to reveal cross sections of whole tender, gently poached pears. They looked so incredibly pretty and inviting, I just had to try one out for myself. Pretty as the loaf cakes are, I really wanted to make a round cake, echoing the curves of the fruit.
I have to admit, pears aren’t my favourite fruit. Raw I’m not really a fan. To me they’re like an apples poorer cousin. There’s something about the texture that doesn’t do it for me. A little bit watery, a little bit grainy. Not as much crispness and freshness as an apple.
However poach the pears, and put them with chocolate, and they become something very special indeed. The texture changes when they’re poached to a tender, soft, juicy fruit that melts invitingly in your mouth, with just the slightest crisp bite with each mouthful. I poached them gently for just 10 minutes, long enough to soften them slight, not so long they become mushy and lose their shape. I’ve poached them with sugar and a little bit of cinnamon. The cinnamon taste isn’t really there, it just serves to lift the flavours, add a little something in the background.
Chocolate and pears are such a classic flavour combination. One of my favourite food blogs, and the first I ever read, Poires au Chocolat, is named after the wonderful pairing of flavours. My Mum makes a delicious hot pear brownie pudding. Its so gooey it creates its own sauce, and its impossible to resist scraping from the bowl. From my own archives is this Pear, Hazelnut and Nutella Cake. A rich, chocolate cake, melting with nutella, and topped with the crunch of hazelnuts.
I’m so happy with the way this cake has turned out. The chocolate cake is really moist, almost brownie-like. The perfect pairing with the pears. Its dense, gooey, and incredibly satisfying. Ground almonds bring moisture to the cake. Chopped dark chocolate richness. Perfect comfort food, the way pudding should always be. Its crying out to be served warm at a dinner party, with a scoop of ice cream gently melting over it. The leftovers eaten the next day with a strong coffee.
– Use a sharp knife to very carefully core the pears from the bottom, making sure you remove all the seeds.
– I haven’t tried making this cake in a larger tin, but I would imagine it would work, just with more of the pear poking out from the top of the cake. If you do decide to use a larger tin you will need to shortened the bake time, and you may want to cover the pears with silver foil part way through cooking to stop them from burning.
- 4 small pears
- 500ml water
- 170g granulated or caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 115g butter
- 115g caster sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 30g cocoa powder
- 60g self raising flour
- 60g ground almonds
- 60g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C fan / 350F. Grease and line a 5inch, high sided loose bottomed cake tin.
- Peel the pears, slice the bottoms off so they are level, and cut the seeds out from inside the pears.
- Put the water, 170g of granulated or caster sugar, 1 teaspoon of caster sugar, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Heat the water, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, and the water is gently simmering. Put the pears into the water, and gently poach for about 10 minutes, until the pears have softened slightly. Remove from the water, and drain onto kitchen paper to remove excess water.
- Meanwhile, make the cake batter.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, self raising flour, and ground almonds. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and pale.
- Crack one egg into the mixture, and add a spoonful of the flour mixture. Beat to combine. Repeat with the second egg and another spoonful of the flour mixture. Finally, fold through the remaining flour mixture. Gently fold through the chopped dark chocolate.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Press the pears down into the mixture, until they are mostly submerged into the batter.
- Bake for about 45 - 50 minutes, or until the cake is well risen, and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Keep an eye on the cake to ensure it doesn't over bake.
- Cool completely in the tin, then carefully turn out.