Sunday, 12 October 2008

Chocolate and pear cake (gluten free)

I often start my posts with why I’ve picked to make a recipe or who it’s for. Well this one’s for me! ME! Pear and chocolate is possibly my favourite combination.

This squidgy cake is perhaps closer to a tort. It also reminds me of the various “fallen chocolate cakes” I’ve seen where, due to the absence of flour, the cake collapses slightly as it cools creating a dense, rich chocolate delight. I was a little sad that my pears were completely smothered by the chocolate batter but it’s hard to complain about a cake rising more than anticipated!

Perfect as a tea time treat or a dessert, the recipe suggested serving with crème fraiche. I have to confess that I view crème fraiche as a tool of the devil so went with thick Channel Islands spooning cream instead. The contrast between the colours and textures of the pear and chocolate is very striking:

The only tweak I made to the recipe was using half dark, half milk chocolate instead of the recommended dark. This is purely down to personal taste; I sometimes find that dark chocolate can be too harsh by itself and some milk chocolate calms it down.

One thing I would say – and I sincerely hope it won’t put you off making this cake – is that while the recipe is very easy, you do need several bowls to hold ingredients in. I needed three: one to melt the chocolate and butter, one to hold the egg yolk and sugar, and the third to whip the egg whites in. Nothing complex, it just requires a bit of prep and organisation.

The cake is so moist:

While this may not sound the healthiest of cakes, it’s got a lot of things going for it. Firstly it contains pears which are fruit and we all know we need to eat lots of fruit. Secondly it includes dark chocolate which contains anti-oxidants (I have no idea what these do but it sounds vital to wellbeing). Thirdly I served it with cream which contains calcium ensuring healthy teeth and bones. Fourthly, it tastes delicious so will make you happy. Ok, I admit I’m running out of ideas....

85g unsalted butter
85g dark chocolate (I used half dark chocolate, half milk chocolate)
1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
3 eggs, separated
85g golden caster sugar
85g ground hazelnuts
4 ripe small pears, peeled, halved and cored (you will probably only be able to fit 7 halves on the cake)

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Line a 25cm springform tin with baking paper.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, then remove from the heat and stir in the brandy. Put to one side.
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale, thick and fluffy.
- Fold the egg yolk and sugar mix into the chocolate and then also fold in the ground hazelnuts.
- In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they are at the soft peak stage.
- Fold one spoonful of the egg white into the chocolate mix to slacken the mixture.
- Fold the remaining whites into the chocolate being careful not to overwork the mixture.
- Spoon or pour the batter into the prepared cake tin then lightly place the pear halves on top, cut side down.

- Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the pears are soft and the cake is cooked i.e. a skewer comes out clean. Mine only took 36 minutes so you might want to start checking the cake after it’s been baking for 30 minutes.
- Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack before carefully removing from the tin. The cake will sink a little on cooling.
- Dust with icing sugar and serve with thick cream or, if you really must, crème fraiche.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


Katie said...

I'm a chocolate and pear fan too. Love how its gluten free - always good to have a tasty recipe like this on standby for guests.

Beth said...

I love dense, moist cakes like this

BB said...

I'm a coeliac and always have to adapt recipes so it's lovely to have a gluten free one here. And looking so scrummy as well!

Indigo said...

Oh my god, this looks too good to be true. Saving this recipe!!

Margaret said...

I love the chocolate and pear combo. Another beautiful cake!

Trekkie said...

I've sent a link for this to my mate who's daughter is a coeliac - she'll love it. And if I pop in for a cuppa while she makes it......who can blame me?

Emiline said...

How good of you to make a gluten-free recipe. That's something I would like to try but haven't gotten around to.

It looks yummy!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I'm not sure if I've ever had pear + chocolate before, but that sounds awesome. I wish I could live next door to you and I could steal your cakes every week, lol. This sounds so good.

Maria said...

chocolate and pears...I am in dreamland! Looks amazing!

Big Boys Oven said...

this dessert is so refreshing, juicy and chocolat! wow!

Rosie said...

ooooh chocolate and pear what a great combo for a cake! Looks such an amazing cake!

Rosie x

Bake your cake and eat it too said...

That is a very stunning cake! My friend just recently became gluten-free and I'm always trying to find sweets for her that won't cause her pain. I'll have to try this one out next time she comes over!

Dee said...

Great minds think alike! I've got my pears out for a pear and ginger upside down pudding. You're tempting me away from my original intention :)

glamah16 said...

Oh man, pear and chocolate! Good for you making a cake just for your.

Cakelaw said...

Isn't it funny how we make so much stuff for someone else or for a blog event? It's very liberating to make something just because you want to. And this looks like a pearler - lovin' those huge chunks of pear peeking out of the chocolate.

Hazel said...

I was searching for a pear cake that was gf and found this, I made it yesterday with one of my sons as I had guests coming for morning tea and I loved it! Really yummy and moist and chocolaty! I made it with all dark chocolate and it was great! Thanks, this is a keeper!

Anonymous said...

hi, may i know a possible substitute for hazelnuts??

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Anon

You could substitute any other nut, or simply omit them (although I haven't tried this)

Hope this helps

Happy baking

Anonymous said...

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Sue said...

I made this recipe to take to a coeliac friend's place this weekend. Big success - everyone loved it !
(By the way, I cut the pears into quarters and they only sank half-way into the batter).
The coconut cherry traybake that I also made was a huge hit too - and also gluten-free.
Thanks for the recipes!