a chocolate pear cake

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
Salt 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
Almonds ¼ cup
  1. Butter the springform cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate either over a water bath OR in the microwave. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with the paddle attachment on medium speed until it becomes creamy and satiny.
  5. 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.
  6. Then, add in the eggs, one at a time.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Bake at 350ºF for 40-50 minutes.
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