Saturday, November 16, 2013

Super Moist Cake with Pears and Dark Chocolate

This cake is incredibly moist, fluffy and delicious. It's definitely a keeper!

The recipe below is an adaptation of the Bittersweet Chocolate Pear Cake recipe in Angel Adoree's gorgeous and fun book, The Vintage Tea Party. It's a wonderful snack cake but it's also elegant enough to serve after a fancy dinner AND it's very easy to make. SCORE!

Super Moist Cake with Pears and Dark Chocolate
Adapted from the Bittersweet Chocolate Pear Cake recipe in The Vintage Tea Party Book by Angel Adoree
8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) salted butter, browned (plus more for greasing the cake pan)
NOTE: if you use unsalted butter be sure to add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3.5 ounces all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon good vanilla
6 ounces granulated sugar
4 Bose Pears (3 diced and 1 sliced for decorating)
4 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350. 

Prepare the following, so everything will be ready as you need it....

Dice three pears and set aside. Halve and core the fourth pear and slice it thinly to decorate your cake pan as you would an upside-down cake. You can simply skip this step if you prefer and just dice all four pears and add them at the end (see below).

Sift together the flour and baking soda and set aside. Weigh out your sugar and set that aside. Roughly chop the chocolate and set it aside as well. Phew!

Plop the butter into a small saucepan and set it on the stovetop over a low flame. 

Take another generous pat of butter and grease then flour a 9 inch springform cake pan. Set it on a baking sheet. Arrange the thinly sliced pear on the bottom of the pan so it looks nice. Again, feel free to skip this step if you prefer. The fan looks pretty but it's not a show stopper, so do whatcha like.

Now turn your full attention to the stove and brown your butter (tutorial here) by heating it over a low/medium flame for about until it's toasty and just beginning to brown. It can burn in an instant, so watch it carefully throughout the process. When it's finished browning, pour it into a bowl to stop the cooking process. Set that aside.

Into a large mixing bowl, crack 3 eggs and mix with an electric mixer on medium/high for 3-4 minutes until very light and fluffy. You want to get as much air into the eggs as possible.

Beat in the vanilla and then add the sugar in three additions. The mixture will begin to take on a meringue-like shine. 

Add the warm browned butter in a stream while beating until it's fully incorporated. Add in the sifted flour and baking powder and mix until just combined. 

Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan and distribute the chopped chocolate and diced pears evenly over it. The batter will rise up and cover everything during baking, so don't worry that it looks like there's way too much chocolate and diced pears in comparison to batter. 

Note, the original recipe calls for 6 ounces of chocolate, so if you are a chocolate lover, feel free to add a bit more. If you dislike chocolate, go ahead and skip it entirely. The recipe is great either way.

This is what it will look like going into the oven.

Bake for 40 minutes, checking for brownness at the halfway point. My cake was far from set-up at 20 minutes but it was already quite browned, so I covered it with foil for the remaining 20 minutes so it wouldn't burn.

Check the center of the cake with a toothpick at 40 minutes. If it comes out clean, it's done. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes.The edges will pull away from the sides of the pan on their own after about 10 minutes or so. Use a thin blade to make sure nothing is sticking before you release the springform ring to remove it. 

After you remove the ring, place a cooling rack onto the bottom of the cake (you may want to cover the rack with parchment to ease transfer later) and flip the cake over so you can remove the bottom portion of the pan. Again, use a thin blade so you can remove that piece without disrupting your pear design, if you chose to make one. 

Allow the cake to cool before serving. This cake keeps well for about 4 days in an airtight container.