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.
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 syrup 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 stand 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.