Now that the weather is cooler my favourite but often underrated fruit, pears, are now in season. Pears are beautifully delicate, sweet and so versatile to use. This chocolate and cinnamon pear cake is a wonderful comfort cake for those cold nights when you are curled up on the lounge watching a movie. The pears in this cake are the hero ingredient and perfectly complement the richness of the chocolate sponge. It is best served warm with vanilla ice cream and maybe even a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
Adapted from a Better Homes and Gardens recipe.
- 3 pears, peeled and cored (I like using Bosc pears)
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 2/3 cups plain flour
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
- 1/2 cup olive oil
* If you don’t want to buy buttermilk, you can sour the milk by adding 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and letting it stand for 5 minutes. This will sour the milk for you.
Before poaching the pears, peel and core them but keep the stalks in. You can core a whole pear by making a small hole at the base of the pear to remove the pips. In a small saucepan with a lid add the water, sugar and cinnamon. Bring it to the boil and add in the pears. Reduce the heat and simmer the pears with the lid on for approximately 15 minutes. Remove the pears and let them cool.
Preheat the oven to 165 C/350 F and line a loaf tin with baking paper.
In a large bowl sift all the dry ingredients together. Remove two tablespoons of the dry ingredients and place them in a separate small bowl – you need this to coat the poached pears.
In a mixing bowl whisk together the egg, oil and buttermilk and pour it into the dry ingredients bowl. Mix thoroughly. Pour the chocolate cake mix into the loaf tin.
Carefully coat the poached pears in the dry ingredients that was previously saved previously and place them in the cake mixture. The coating seals the moisture in the pears and gives them a nice crust. The cake mix will rise and cover most of the pears as it bakes in the oven.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or when a skewer comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes before removing.
Serve with a dollop of fresh cream or creme fraiche – but it is definitely best served warm with vanilla ice cream.