Christmas is a great time for cake lovers, Christmas decorations are superimposed into all kinds of pastries such as cookies, cakes, pies and sweets especially made for this time of year. Any cake can be easily transformed into a Christmas cake (or a birthday cake during the rest of the year) with a little bit of imagination and some nice decorations, like for example the French apple cake & orange mascarpone icing or the Ricotta, lemon and buttercream cake, as well as this pear and chocolate cake. If you are more experimental you can try a rainbow cake. The blog Sweetambs is also a great source of inspiration with its recipes and video tutorials which explain how to create beautiful and decorative cookies and sweets.
The upside-down pear and chocolate cake recipe is very easy to do, and I especially like its festive appearance: the pears arranged in a crown and the caramel topping make the cake look like a giant candy. On top of that, the combination of chocolate with pears is a sage choice, which works with many recipes. The recipe is coming from A whisk and a Spoon.
I haven’t done it yet, but I am sure that this recipe would also work with other fruits: oranges, apples, mangoes … so you can vary the taste infinitely.
I like it because:
- Cakes stuffed with fruits are usually softer and juicier than any other cakes.
- It reminds me of my favourite snack when I was younger, fresh pears covered with hot chocolate that I used to eat when I was coming back from school.
- You can use a can of fruit in syrup instead of fresh fruits.
- If you want to make your own homemade caramel, it is very easy to do and requires only a few minutes of preparation. Follow the steps of the Youtube video below (its in French but the imagery is self explanatory), it works well for me. 2 important tips:
- Make sure you use white sugar, caramel does not work with brown sugar: the mixture won’t liquefy because it has too many impurities.
- Do not mix the sugar and water mixture while it cooks, just let it heat and the caramel will make itself.
INGREDIENTS FOR A 7-inch CAKE PAN
- 1 1/4 US cup (250g) white sugar
- 0,4 US cup (10 cl) water
- A little bit of lemon juice
- 3 fresh pears or a can of pears in syrup
- 2 oz (50g) butter plus a little bit more for the mould
- 4 oz (110g) black chocolate
- 5 oz (140g) all purpose flour
- 1 oz (30g) cocoa powder
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 5,3 oz (150g) brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 US cup (120ml) milk
RECIPE OF THE PEAR AND CHOCOLATE CAKE
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (170 °C) and line the bottom and sides of the cake dish with a little bit of butter,
- Prepare the caramel:
- Put the sugar, water and lemon in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, uncovered and without mixing.
- The sugar melts, the liquid becomes transparent and starts making bubbles. Leave the pan on the heat until the mixture takes a light golden colour. If you heat the caramel longer, you will have a strong flavoured dark golden colour caramel, but do not leave it too much neither because the taste would be too strong after a certain point.
- When the caramel is ready, cool down the saucepan in a large bowl filled with cold water to stop the cooking.
- Pour the caramel into the cake dish, and keep aside. Be very careful while you manipulate the mould because it becomes very hot.
- Peel and cut the pears into thin slices and place them harmoniously in the mould over the caramel, pointing up to the center and making a kind of mandala circle.
- Cut the butter and dark chocolate into small pieces and melt them in another saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Mix those ingredients together.
- Transfer the mixture of chocolate in another large bowl or the bowl of a hand mixer if you have one, add the sugar and mix for 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Incorporate the eggs one by one and the vanilla extract.
- Then add gently the flour mixture in 3 times alternately with the milk, beginning and ending by the flour mixture.
- Pour the mixture into the cake dish and bake for 40-45 minutes, until a knife can be inserted into the dough and comes out clean. Remove it from the oven and let it cool down for 10 minutes.
- Separate cake from the mould sides with a knife and turn it over into a large cake dish. Leave the mould on the cake for 5 more minutes before removing it completely.
Let the pear and chocolate cake cool down in the fridge until it is completely cold. You can eat it with a scoop of ice cream if you like.