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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake

The Christmas season is truly a season of excess. It seems as though food falls from the sky and directly into our kitchen. Every time I turn around, more food. To avoid having anything go bad I feel like I am continuously turning it into something else to prolong its life. Those oranges look like they are about to turn, make marmalade. Oh no, the apples are getting brown spots, make applesauce. At some point we do need to eat this stuff, although I do have quite a few recipes marked for the marmalade.
During the holidays  we also received a couple of  fruit gifts including some beautiful pears. The two of us ate most of the pears just as they were. They were so good, but we reached our saturation with three pears left. Desperate I turned them into this pear cake. Once it was done and I took it out of the oven, I thought it might have just been easier to eat the remaining pears instead of a whole cake. One bite of this unusual cake made me realize I had made the right decision. I had a lot of luck with this cake, it turned out perfect on the first try. I do caution you to read some of the comments on the original site where it was posted as it looks like other struggled with baking times. My pears were huge and incredibly juicy, I would imagine the baking time would be significantly less with smaller or dryer pears. Mine did sink a bit (ok, a lot) in the middle, but it tasted great.
Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake
adapted (slightly) from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, at room-temperature
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 pears, peeled, in a small dice (I only used two as the pears I had were huge)
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 9-inch springform pan, set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs on high speed until pale and very thick. About 10 minutes in a Kitchen Aid, until they are very shiny and look like taffy.
While the eggs are whipping, brown the butter. Brown the butter in a medium saucepan and cook it until the it smells nutty (about 6 to 8 minutes). I whisk the butter gently, but continuously to ensure even browning.  Keep in a warm spot.
Add the sugar to the eggs and whip a few minutes more.
Just as the egg-sugar mixture is starting to loose volume, turn down to stir, and add the flour and brown butter. Add one third of the flour, then half of the butter, a third of the flour, the remaining butter, and the rest of flour. Whisk until just barely combined — no more than a minute from when the flour is first added — and then use a spatula to gently fold the batter until the ingredients are combined. It is very important not to over-whisk or fold the batter or it will lose volume.
Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle the pear and chocolate chunks over the top, and bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back to the touch, about 40 to 50 minutes, or a tester comes out clean.


  1. Chocolate and pears are such a wonderful combo, what a great idea adding them to cake! Whether it sank or not I still think it's gorgeous!

  2. I'm not much for sweets but I'm going to be obsessed with this for a while. Two hurdles: finding pears that aren't rock-hard and veganizing the recipe.

    So... the pears and chocolate were sprinkled on top but appear on the bottom in the photos. Did they sink or did you flip the cake?

  3. Faith-Thanks. :)

    Janet- It is magic! Actually, it is pretty cool, the cake kind of rises up like the blob and sucks them all in. I think that might be part of the problem why mine sank in the middle. There was no place for the cake to escape because the pears and chocolate were concentrated there. I would try and spread it out more evenly next time and probably put a little more towards the edges.

  4. I tell you it scares me when I go looking for a recipe and find one that knows I have 3 pears sitting that need to be baked or eaten or something. I hate waste and husband wanted pears, should of known better than buy 4, he has only eaten one and now these poor babies have been sitting. Well not anymore, thanks for a great sounding recipe, off to the kitchen I go.

  5. Very much thanks for your info, I will remark that I created a teaspoons in a tablespoon site having extremely fine stuff to look at,


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