I bought some pears a while ago with the vague intention of using them in a bake. When I finally remembered that they were still knocking about, I did a bit of research and decided to amalgamate two recipes to create this promising-sounding pear, chocolate and almond cake.
The two recipes I found were from Good Housekeeping and Tinned Tomatoes, which both looked excellent. I mainly followed the method from Tinned Tomatoes, while incorporating the almonds using Good Housekeeping’s method.
All went relatively well – I had to leave the cake in for longer than the recipe said, of course, but that’s nothing new for my oven! I only got a chance to properly taste it the next day, and was impressed by how fudgy the cake looked when I sliced it up.
However, the taste wasn’t quite what I expected. The almond flavour came through so strongly I could only just about taste the chocolate, and the pear was hardly anywhere to be seen! It was a bit disappointing, although it was still a lovely cake. I think perhaps my almond extract was overly strong (I used 1 tsp of it), and the pears weren’t ripe enough.
If I make this again, I’ll use a lot less almond extract (if any) and riper conference pears rather than the not-so-ripe dessert pears I actually used. I might also try adding dark chocolate to the mix or, failing that, serving the cake with a rich chocolate sauce!
The recipe below takes the above into account – it’s worth going slowly with the extract and tasting the mix as you go along.
- 50g cocoa
- 150ml hot water
- One-quarter to half a teaspoon of almond extract, depending on its strength
- 100g caster sugar
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 125g butter, softened
- 125g self-raising flour, sifted
- 75g ground almonds
- 2 eggs
- 2 very ripe conference pears, peeled and sliced lengthways
- 25g flaked almonds
- Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4. Grease a round 20cm springform tin and line the base with baking parchment.
- Dissolve the cocoa in the hot water and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugars and almond extract until light and fluffy.
- Add the ground almonds, eggs, cocoa mixture and flour, and beat until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the tin and place the pear slices on top. Scatter the flaked almonds on top.
- Bake for at least an hour. Check the cake with a skewer (it’s ready when the skewer comes out without any mix on it) and leave for 10 minutes a time, checking with a skewer each time, until the cake is cooked in the middle.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely before serving.