This is another recipe using the pears kindly given to us by a friend. The pears are Conference but you could use any eating variety. The cake is my almond cake batter – light and moist. This pear cake is very good with lots of cream as a dessert or indeed with a cup of tea in the afternoon. Shaheen recently made a wonderful chocolate pear crown cake that looks fantastic, take a look at the post on her blog about it for more pear cake inspiration.
4-5 pears (the ones I used were quite small)
2 tbsp caster sugar
175g softened butter
175g caster sugar
150ml natural yoghurt ( I use Greek yoghurt)
1 tsp almond extract
200g ground almonds
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Grease and line a 23cm springform pan and preheat the oven to 160°c, gas mark 3.
Peel the pears and remove the base and the stalk. Slice the pear through but keep the top intact so that you can fan the pear out. You will see from the picture that I wasn’t entirely successful at keeping the pears in fans but it doesn’t matter too much. Melt the butter in a pan that is large enough to take the pears in a single layer. Add the sugar and swirl until melted. Add the pears and cook for about 10 minutes over a medium heat until they become a lovely caramel colour. Set aside and allow to cool a little while you make the cake batter.
Beat the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, whisking well between each addition. Add the yoghurt and the almond extract and beat well.
Add the ground almonds, flour and baking powder and fold in carefully.
Put the batter into the cake tin and level the top. Place the caramelised pears on top, fanning them out as you go.
Place the tin into the centre of the preheated oven (the baking oven of the Aga) and cook for about 1 hour until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for about ten minutes in the tin. Then turn out upside down onto a plate, remove the base and turn the right way up onto a wire rack to finish cooling. You could serve it warm or cold with lots of cream (and those poached pears if you wanted to).
This is my contribution to this month’s We Should Cocoa Challenge. This month it is very exciting as the challenge is a year old (time flies!) and Chele wanted everyone to make a cake suitable for a first birthday.
My cupcakes are inspired by the wonderful blogs of both Chele and Choclette, the brilliant bloggers behind We Should Cocoa. They have both recently featured honeycomb – Chele made Nigella’s Hokey Pokey and Choclette reviewed some very delicious looking honeycomb draped in Valrhona (drooling!). I knew I had to make some honeycomb and soon. Then I thought about a cupcake featuring honeycomb. When I was making them it seemed obvious that I needed to use spelt flour as I learned about spelt flour from Choclette. The spelt flour has the consistency of wholemeal and so adds a bit more texture to the cupcake. I happen to like this, but if you prefer yours in the traditional style then by all means use plain flour.
And, of course, if you are only one year old you don’t want a great big slab of cake (or you may want a big slab but your mummy won’t let you), so a cupcake is perfect.
Thanks to Chele and Choclette for a fabulous monthly challenge which has inspired me many times during the last year.
Before I divulge the recipe I have a few confessions to make. I cooked the cupcakes with honeycomb sprinkled inside the batter, but all it did was dissolve and escape out of the top of the cakes so I wouldn’t bother with doing that again. My instructions for making the cupcakes will leave this bit out. Also, when I was making the hokey pokey I reduced the amount of bicarb from the original recipe from 1½tsps to 1 tsp.
To make the cakes, first make the hokey pokey as described by Chele. Then make the cupcake batter as follows.
110g caster sugar
110g softened butter (unsalted)
pinch of salt
20g cocoa powder
1 heaped tsp instant coffee powder
100ml hot water
140g flour (spelt or plain)
1 tsp baking powder
Dissolve the cocoa powder and the instant coffee in the hot water and allow to cool. Place all the ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until well combined. Spoon into cupcake cases and bake in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or in the baking oven of the Aga for 12-15 minutes until cooked. When you place a fingertip on top the cake should spring back. Remove the cakes in their cases to a wire rack to cool.
Make this chocolate frosting and top with honeycomb. Make a cup of tea and enjoy.