Thursday, November 5, 2015

Perfect pear and chocolate cake

I've been eyeing up this recipe for a while, and we keep getting pears in our fruit and vege box (I guess we're not quite into summer fruit season yet) so with the awful weather yesterday I finally got around to giving it a whirl.

I spied it over on Not Quite Nigella, where the lovely Lorraine has been sharing great recipes for a blogland eternity - since 2007. I've been following her since not long after she started, and love her quirky recipes and ideas, though as ever I am mainly drawn to her cakes.

This cake sounded delicious, pretty easy, and perfect to use up the pears in the fruit bowl. And as it turned out it is all of those things (except that the fruit bowl is empty now).

The batter is very simple to put together - chopping up the fruit was the trickiest bit and that wasn't arduous. There's enough fruit to make the batter go a long way, and as a result the cake feels less rich - though the addition of chocolate helps to boost the decadence level back up into the acceptable zone.

Though it's a pear cake I used both pears and apples, as they are reasonably interchangeable in baking. This will alter the flavour of the cake slightly but unless you happen to hate one or the other (or have an allergy) that's unlikely to be polarising. The main thing is that the fruit makes the cake dense and moist.

It was billed as a breakfast cake, and although I will confess to having eaten cake for breakfast on the odd occasion, I still think this qualifies as dessert, not really breakfast food (if you choose to have dessert for breakfast that's your call, but you've got to own it!).

It's especially awesome served warm with a generous scoop of good quality chocolate ice-cream, but is good cold too.

Perfect pear and chocolate cake (adapted from Not Quite Nigella)
100ml vegetable oil (canola or sunflower)
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g flour
2 tsps baking powder
75ml milk
5 pears (or apples, or a mixture)
125g chopped chocolate

Preheat oven to 170C. Grease a 23cm round springform cake tin.

Chop two of the pears into small cubes (1cm or less). Halve and core the other three, then carefully score along the outside.

Beat together oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla until double in volume.

Add half the flour, baking powder and milk and fold until just combined. Add the remaining half and fold again, then add the chopped pears and chocolate and fold in. Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and top with the scored pears.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a skewer comes out  clean. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with lashings of chocolate ice-cream or cream. Serves 8 for dessert.

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