Yes I know, and I agree that usually fruit and chocolate should be enjoyed separately, I’m even a little mad at chocolate dipped strawberries. However, this cake sounded so epic I decided to make an exception, and the result is a fantastically delicious fancy cake that has such a luxy vibe I want to eat it with pinkies up. I found the recipe on my favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen, and she cleverly got the pastry chef at a famous Brooklyn Italian restaurant to share this recipe with her so it has NY level credibility and such a unique and beautiful flavor you’ll love it! I think the brown butter is what really makes it special, plus the way you make it is unlike any cake I’ve made before, but it’s pretty straight forward and takes just a little extra time to chop your pears, chocolate, and brown your butter. I didn’t use 3 pears in the end because it just seemed like too many pears for how much batter I had, and I thought it turned out perfect, but you could go for 3 pears if you want more fruit and less cake. I tried it with normal whip cream, vanilla ice cream and with whipped cream that had a few drops of almond extract and that was my preference. It’s a cake that would also go well with a nice mild tea and a big fancy hat – pinkies up!
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, at room-temperature
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 pears, peeled, in a small dice (3 if you want more fruit, I used bartlett)
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks
confectioners sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with breadcrumbs or flour, set aside.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside.
- Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs on high speed until pale and very thick. (In a professional Kitchen Aid, it takes at least five minutes; on a home machine, it will take nine minutes to get sufficient volume) They won’t be stiff because they are whole eggs not egg whites, but it will be thick and whip like ribbons.
- While the eggs are whipping, brown the butter. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan (because it will foam a lot) and cook it until the butter browns and smells nutty (about 6 to 8 minutes). It helps to frequently scrape the solids off the bottom of the pan in the last couple minutes to ensure even browning. Remove from the flame but keep in a warm spot. Here’s a photo to get an idea of what browned butter looks like.
- Add the sugar to the eggs and whip a few minutes more.
- Just as the egg-sugar mixture is starting to loose volume, turn the mixture down to stir, and add the flour mixture and brown butter. Add one third of the flour mixture, then half of the butter, a third of the flour, the remaining butter, and the rest of flour. Whisk until just barely combined — no more than a minute from when the flour is first added — and then use a spatula to gently fold the batter until the ingredients are combined. Be fast and gentle! It is very important not to over-whisk or fold the batter or it will lose volume.
- Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle the pear and chocolate chunks over the top, and bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back to the touch, about 40 to 50 minutes, or a tester comes out clean. Make sure you check for doneness in the middle of the cake, doneness if more important than bake times. Mine took 45 minutes and I put foil on top the last 7 minutes or so to prevent further browning.
- Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes than pop out of your springform and sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Serve slightly warm or room temperature with whipped cream that has a little sugar and a few drops of almond extract.
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake 2009