This is a wonderfully moreish chocolate cake, the sharpness of the dark chocolate is complemented perfectly with sweet bursts of juicy pears that are right in season this time of the year. It is a really easy recipe to whip up if you have a couple of pears getting overripe in your fruit bowl that you want to use up. Good quality chocolate will add a really nice depth to this cake, it’s worth the extra euro or two. You could also throw in some hazelnuts if that appeals to you or if you’re feeling extra indulgent, make a simple chocolate sauce to serve alongside it.
150g self-raising flour
30g unsweetened cocoa powder
1tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
50g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
125g granulated sugar
2 medium eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
3 large ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
Preheat the oven to 180℃/160°Fan/Gas mark 4. Grease and line an 8-inch loose bottom circular tin. Then assemble the dry ingredients by sieving the flour into a bowl along with the baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Stir gently to combine. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a small saucepan, slowly on a low heat. Pour this into a separate bowl and add the sugar, then beat the two together on medium-high with an electric whisk for about two minutes. Reduce speed to medium and beat in the eggs one at a time along with the vanilla extract.
Now working in three batches, fold in the dry ingredients from earlier alternating with the milk. Start and end with the flour, so flour-milk-flour-milk-flour. At this point, you could fold half of the pears into the mixture if you want some in the middle of the cake. Otherwise, use them all for the top.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, top with the pears (you could choose to make a pattern or opt for a rustic look) and bake for about 45 mins. It is ready when it bounces back to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out mostly clean.
Leave to cool in the tins for about 20 mins before transferring onto a wire rack to cool fully. A dusting of icing sugar really finishes this cake nicely. It’s delicious served warm with some vanilla ice cream or plenty of fresh cream alongside a cup of tea. It should keep for about 3 days, covered, at room temperature.