Sunday, 13 November 2016

Pear, Chocolate & Spice Cake

With warming fragrant spice, crowd pleasing chocolate and naturally sweet & nutritious pears, this delicious recipe for pear cake is perfect for the chillier autumn months.  Finishing this seasonal cake with sliced pears, a glaze of apricot jam and a little chocolate ganache removes the temptation to laden it with a sugary frosting.   

A delicious pear cake made extra tasty with complementary spices and chocolate.

Like most households, I suspect, we occasionally have fruit which has been languishing in the fruit bowl for a few too many days, turning a little too soft and gradually spoiling, being passed over for those fresher, shinier more inviting pieces.

Having a couple of pears in this sorry state just last week, it was the perfect excuse to don my pinny and gather the flour and sugar from the cupboard.

This pear cake is simply finished with sliced pears, apricot jam glaze and chocolate ganache.

It would have been such a shame to dispose of those pears in the food-waste caddy just because they were a little too soft with the skin starting to brown a little.  After peeling and coring the pears, it was evident that the fruit was still very much edible.  The juicy fruit was diced and the pieces made their way into our Pear, Chocolate and Spice Cake.


A perfect autumn bake, pear cake with spices and chocolate.

As pears work so well with cardamom, ginger and dark chocolate those delicious flavours, perfect for autumn baking, made their way into our pear cake recipe.  The slightly spoilt fresh pears were peeled, cored and chopped before being added to the Victoria Sponge batter which had been flavoured with the spices and chocolate!   The top of the cake batter was simply finished with even more pears which had been sliced, and once baked was simply glazed with apricot jam and a drizzle of chocolate ganache, which, in our opinion, removed the temptation to finish the cake with a sugar ladened frosting.

Pear cake studded with chopped pears and flavoured with spices and chocolate.

Happily the cake, once sliced into, was beautifully studded with the diced pear.  A little extra flour in the batter had prevented the fruit from sinking to the bottom of our seasonal cake.  The fruit helped to make the bake deliciously moist and brought added texture to the eat.  You may have noticed that the centre of the cake cracked a little, caused probably by the addition of the extra flour, and no doubt would have received a frown had Mary seen it, but when a cake tastes as good as this such flaws can surely be overlooked.   

This pear cake with spices and chocolate is a perfect way to use up spoilt pears.

Now, as November is World Vegan Month,  I have to admit that the intention was to attempt our first ever vegan cake with this pear cake recipe.  No butter.  No milk.  No cream.  No eggs.  However, my chosen egg replacer, chia seeds, proved to be difficult, near impossible, to grind with a pestle & mortar (not being in possession of a spice or coffee grinder) and so after an hour of pounding those pesky little seeds I cracked and added eggs to the mixture instead!

Time permitting, I'm aiming to revisit the vegan bake idea later in the month, but for the time being here's our Pear, Chocolate and Spice Cake, perfect for autumn baking.



Let's get to it and bake this seasonal Pear, Chocolate and Spice Cake.




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Pear, Chocolate & Spice Cake
With warming fragrant spice, crowd pleasing chocolate and naturally sweet & nutritious pears, this delicious recipe for pear cake is perfect for the chillier autumn months.  Finished with sliced pears, a glaze of apricot jam and a little chocolate ganache removes the temptation to laden it with a sugary frosting.   

Details

Prep time: about Cook time:

Specific Equipment
    1 x 21cm deep loose bottom springform cake tin
Ingredients
For the Batter
  • 190g Butter (unsalted, softened) / Margarine + extra for preparing the cake tin
  • 95g Caster Sugar
  • 95g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 2 Cardamom pods, seeds within ground
  • 3/4 tsp Ground Ginger
  • Pinch Salt
  • 3 Eggs, very Large
  • 3 tbsp Milk
  • 160g SR Flour
  • 40g Cocoa Powder + extra for preparing the cake tin
  • 1.5 x 230g tin (drained weight) Pears Halves (or equivalent fresh, peeled & cored)
To Glaze
  • 1 tbsp Apricot Jam (ideally smooth)
For the Chocolate Drizzle
  • 40ml Double Cream
  • 40g Milk or Dark Chocolate

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180c / 160 Fan / Gas 4.2. Prepare the cake tin. Thoroughly grease the base and sides of the tin. Line the base with greaseproof paper. Add a teaspoon of cocoa powder to the tin. Stand over the sink and move the tin about to encourage the flour to adhere to the buttered sides of the tin. Once the sides are thoroughly coated in cocoa powder, tip the excess out. Tap the tin to ensure all of the surplus is removed. 3. Prepare the pears. Drain the tinned pears. Dry off any surplus juice from the pears with kitchen roll. Dice three pear halves, cover and set aside (these will go into the batter). Slice the remaining pears fairly thinly. You should be able to get 5 or 6 slices from each pear half. Cover and set side. 4. Make the batter. Place the soft butter (or margarine) and sugars into a good sized bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon or electric beaters until very pale and fluffy. Add the ground cardamom, ground ginger and salt and mix again. Gradually add the beaten egg a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture. Use a spatula, large metal spoon or your hand with your fingers splayed to fold this in gently. Add the chopped pears to the mixture and fold in until just combined.5. Fill the cake tin. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Use the back of the spoon to level out the surface.6. Arrange the pear slices. Arrange the pear slices to the top of the cake. 7. Bake. Place the cake tin into the centre of the preheated oven. Bake for about 60 - 70 minutes. You may need to rotate the cake tin after 40 minutes of baking. After 60 minutes of baking test the cake is ready by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake. It will come out clean once it is ready. Once baked, remove from the oven and place on a cooling tray.8. Cool. After 10 minutes of cooling inside the tin, gently remove the cake from the tin and place it directly on the cooling tray to complete cooling.9. Make the chocolate ganache. Use a sharp knife to break the chocolate into small pieces (smaller than the squares the chocolate is usually moulded into). Place the chocolate into a pudding bowl. Pour the cream into a small pan and set over a medium heat. Allow the cream to heat up gently. Just before it reaches boiling point pour it over the chocolate and stir to combine. It will soon become smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool whilst you glaze the cake. 10. Glaze. Place the apricot jam into a small pan and set over a low heat. Stir to slacken. Once the jam has loosened use a pastry brush to gently spread it over the pears and upper surface of the cake.11. Apply the chocolate ganache frosting. EITHER allow the chocolate to dribble randomly over the cake from a spoon.  OR spoon the ganache into a piping bag. Cut a small amount away from the tip of the bag. Drizzle the ganache over the cake as desired.12. Enjoy!
Notes 
a)  Use either fresh pears, tinned or a mixture of both.  Our cake was made with a mixture - the overripe pears were chopped and placed in the batter, whilst the tinned were sliced and arranged on top of the cake.  b) Avoid letting the ganache cool too much as it will thicken and become difficult to drizzle.  If it does become a little too thick, warm it up in a bain marie (bowl suspended over a pan of water).













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This pear cake recipe, flavoured with spices of cardamom and ginger and chocolate is a perfect way to use up spoilt pears.  It is finished with sliced pears which are glazed and a drizzle of ganache




This post has been shared with:

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Hosted this week by Jenny at Mummy Mishaps

 We Should Cocoa hosted by Choclette over at Tin & Thyme.

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16 comments:

  1. Oooh this sounds FAB - I love the idea of pairing chocolate, pears and spices and I love how you have decorated it...so pretty! I am yet to try making a vegan cake - I've done quite a few gluten and / or dairy free ones but never egg free. Sounds tricky, though I hear it can be done very successfully. Good luck with your next one :-) Thanks for linking up to #CookBlogShare. Eb x

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    1. Aw thank you Eb :-) I must admit I was pretty pleased with the effect of the pears slices to the top of the cake. I had half anticipated the batter to swamp the slices as it cooked, but happily that didn't happen. Yes, I've seen a few vegan cakes over the past few months and they looked absolutely great. Fingers crossed I can get a similar result!!
      Angela x

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  2. i love how you have made use of some writing pears, I am often doing this with fruit especially bananas! The flavours you have used sound so comforting and warming, and must complement the pears superbly. I also think it looks so delicious and love the year pieces inside the sponge . thank you linking up to #BakeoftheWeek xx

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    1. Haha, I've noticed your love of using slightly spoilt bananas in bakes Jenny ;-) The cake was a dream to eat Jenny, even Mr E - someone who doesn't go out of his way for cake - even went for an extra slice!
      Thank you for your lovely comments,
      Angela x

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  3. I've had a soft spot for pear and chocolate after a neighbour of mine dropped a pear and chocolate sponge off for me just after I'd had my second baby. This cake takes it to the next level - the spices you've used sound lovely and I fully approve of using up fruit on the turn in the fruit bowl!

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    1. Awe, what a lovely gesture your neighbour made when your second baby arrived Mandy, I imagine it was very well received. It's such a shame to see fruit go to waste isn't it, when they can easily be used in a bake.
      Angela x

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  4. I hadn't even noticed that crack in the centre as I was too busy drooling over the chocolate drizzled pears! Your cake looks beautiful! I love using sad looking fruit in cakes, mostly because I tell myself it still counts as part of my 5 a day :D

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  5. I think this cake looks fabulous I've pinned for latter but I might even give it a try soon with some of my many apples from our Suffolk garden I still have to use as I am sure that would work well too.

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    1. Aw thank you Jacqueline. Ooh how lucky to have an apple tree and lods of delicous apples to use up. Yes, I imagine apple would have groegeous in it too, you'll have to let me know how you get on with it :-)
      Angela x

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  6. Pears, ginger & chocolate, a match made in heaven. Your cake looks delicious Angela, I love how you've added cardamom seeds. Looking forward to your vegan cake x

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    1. Aw thank you Sarah :-) I love cardamom, I just don't seem to use it often enough.
      I have my fingers crossed that the vegan idea will work this time! :-)
      Angela x

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  7. Lovely! I adore the chocolate-pear combination and the addition of ginger sounds very seasonal and warming x

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    1. Thank you Kate :-) Pear and chocolate is just fab isn't it, and to me the ginger in the cake was slightly more pronounced the following day in a good way,
      Thanks for popping by,
      Angela x

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  8. This looks gorgeous Angela. Pear and chocolate is such a good combination and with the spices too - yum yum. You've made it look so lovely too and I couldn't spot any cracking. January is veganuary, so plenty of time to try a vegan cake then. I tried using "egg replacer", both chia seed and linseed, but find my vegan cakes are actually better without them. Thanks for sharing with We Should Cocoa.

    I’m running a bit behind this month due to my advent calendar, but the round-up and new linky should be up later today.

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    1. Aw thank you Choclette :-) Now that's interesting that you don't bother with chia or linseeds for your vegan cakes. I've since had another go, this time with apple sause nd aquafaba as an egg replacer in a carrot cake and although it looked great going into the over, the aquafaba deflated massively during the bake! Fingers crossed I'll manage something vefore Veganuary is out!
      You're welcome Choclette, and don't worry about running a little behind - it's a very busy month :-)
      Angela x

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