4 down, 5 to go! [pears that is]
the other day, i had an inkling for chocolate cake…so i made some. it turned out to be super rich, dense and gooey. in fact, it tasted quite a bit like a giant fudgy brownie. i thought those pears sitting on my counter top would taste quite splendid in chocolate cake, so off i went. first, i poached my pears. to economize, i stole about a cup of chateauneuf du pape that hubby had popped open the other day and then brewed up some earl grey tea for the rest of the poaching liquid. then, i set about finding a recipe for a dark but fluffier chocolate cake. i settled on flo’s dark chocolate cake. the cake itself turned out to be moist and fluffy but a bit of a misnomer. i expected the recipe to produce a richer, darker cake with a strong chocolate intensity more akin to a german chocolate cake or a sacher torte, but got more of an all-american chocolate cake. still, the cake is light, fluffy and easy to eat. one could probably even stack and frost the cakes to make a lovely chocolate pear layer cake!
A Chocolate Pear Cake
(makes 2 nine-inch round cakes; nb: there appears to be a flaw in flo’s original recipe *gasp*. i’ve read the recipe many times, and while it gives directions for melting chocolate, it doesn’t exactly say when one is supposed to add the melted chocolate to the batter. i decided to add the melted chocolate in along with the warm coffee in the last step. let me know, if you come across a revised version of this recipe.)
|Unsweetened Chocolate||85g (I used extra bitter couverture chocolate). If not using pistoles, chocolate should be coarsely chopped to aid melting|
|Cake Flour||225g (2 cups)|
|Baking Soda||1 ½ tsp|
|Sour Cream||1 cup (225g)|
|Vanilla Extract||2 tsp|
|Unsalted Butter||170g (1.5 sticks)|
|Light Brown Sugar||400g (2 cups)|
|Eggs||3 large ones|
|Warm Coffee||240 g (1 cup)|
|Pears||2 whole pears, pitted and sliced into eighths. Poaching optional|
- Butter the springform cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- Melt the chocolate either over a water bath OR in the microwave. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with the paddle attachment on medium speed until it becomes creamy and satiny.
- Add in the sugar and beat until the mixture is lighter in color and fluffy. You may need to stop the mixer to intermittently scrape down the sides.
- Then, add in the eggs, one at a time.
- Next, with the mixer on the lowest speed, add in the flour mixture (from step 3) and sour cream in two to 3 additions, about 1/2 to 1/3 of each at a time. Mix until just incorporated.
- Finally, add in the vanilla, warm coffee and melted chocolate. Flo recommends stirring in the last step with a rubber spatula, but I think one can get away with using the stand mixer set a the lowest speed.
- Pour into cake pans. Place the sliced pear eighths in the circular patter on top of the cake batter and then sprinkles some sliced almonds on top.
- Bake at 350ºF for 40-50 minutes.