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Sunken Pear and Chocolate Cake

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.
Course Cake
Cuisine British
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8
Calories 468kcal
Author Jacqueline Bellefontaine

Ingredients

for the pears

  • 300 ml cider (hard cider in US)
  • 3-4 pears
  • 100 g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

For the cake

  • 175 g butter softened, plus extra to grease
  • 175 g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder plus extra to sprinkle in tin
  • 75 g plain chocolate melted
  • icing sugar, to dust

Instructions

To poach the pears

  • 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

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Calories: 468kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 182mg | Potassium: 226mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 660IU | Vitamin C: 3.8mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1.5mg