This easy to make sunken pear and chocolate cake makes a fabulous centre piece. Not only is it lovely as a cake with a cuppa or a coffee it also makes a delicious dessert cake.
I have made this cake and a few variations of it several times in the last couple of years, and have been meaning to make it for the blog for some time now. So when the Great British Bake Off started again last week and the first challenge was to make a fruity cake (fresh fruit not dried) I thought this cake fitted the brief perfectly.
When the show aired last year my blog was still very new and I joined in the Great Bloggers Bake Off hosted by Jenny at MummyMishaps . A group of bloggers baked each week along with the show and as a result over the weeks I made some fabulous virtual baking/blogger friends, who have gone on to prove their weight in gold with the help and encouragement in the world of blogging. There is nothing like a cake, virtual or real to make people friendly and sociable and I am so grateful to have met such a great bunch on line.
The jury is still out as whether I like the new presenters on Channel 4 and of course I don’t like the ads (that’s what recording and the fast forwards button is there for) but once I found out the Great Bloggers Bake Off was happening again, then I was definitely going to be watching the show and baking along. How could I not.
Before the first show I thought I would test myself on the technical challenges but then the first one was mini chocolate rolls, and as one contestant said ‘I’ve never made mini swiss rolls – Why would I? My thoughts exactly, so given the fact that this cake fitted one of the other tasks so beautifully, decision made! And here is my first GBBO bake just in time before the next episode goes out.
Sunken Pear and Chocolate Cake
Pear and chocolate make a fabulous flavour combination in this simple but unusual cake. The hands on time to make this cake is not that great but you will need to allow at least 2 hours, as the pears are poached in cider first and need to cool before making the cake itself.
for the pears
- 300 ml cider (hard cider in US)
- 3-4 pears
- 100 g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp ground ginger
For the cake
- 175 g butter softened, plus extra to grease
- 175 g golden caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 175 g self-raising flour
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder plus extra to sprinkle in tin
- 75 g plain chocolate melted
- icing sugar, to dust
To poach the pears
Place the cider in a saucepan with the sugar and ginger and heat gently stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Peel the pears leaving the stems attached. Remove the Calyx from the base of the pears.
Place the pears in the cider. Cover and poach gently for 20 minutes until just tender, turning the fruit over in the cder once or twice.
Remove from the pan with the draining spoon and allow to cool completely.
To complete the cake
Preheat the oven to 180℃ (160℃ fan)/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease a 900g (2lb) loaf tin with a little butter. Add about 1 tbsp of cocoa powder and shake the pan to coat on the inside. Tap out any excess cocoa powder.
Beat the butter and sugar together until very pale and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.
Sift the flour and 2 tbsp of cocoa powder into the bowl and begin to fold in. Then add the melted chocolate and fold in until well blended.
Spoon into the prepared tin and level. Pat the pears dry on kitchen paper and stan in a line in the tin pushing gently into the cake mixture but not quite to the bottom of the tin. I like to slightly slope the pears in alternate directions.
Bake for about 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cover the top loosely with foil if it begins to get too dark on top,
Allow too cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely
I like to use tall conference pears as they stick out the top of the cake a little more and you can just squeeze in 4 pears. Shorter dumpier pears work just as well, it just gives a different look. If you use larger pears you may only be able to fit 3 into the tin.