Whew, that was close. I mean, I almost couldn’t find a horribly corny way to fit “pear” into the title of this post. But then I did. There is no limit to my punniness. There is also no limit to how much I love this cake.
Chocolate and pear is not a combination I often think of, but they “peared” wonderfully. Ok done, promise. Please keep reading. Don’t let my corniness scare you off. You’ll be missing out on an absolutely lovely cake.
Look at those specks! Beautiful. The fun part about this cake is that you put the fruit and chocolate right on top, and then as the cake bakes it literally oozes up from underneath and sucks the fruit and chocolate into itself. Magic! Also this is the first cake for which I’ve beaten whole eggs…usually it’s just the whites. They turn all pale yellow and marshmallow-y.
In my humble opinion, pears are slightly overlooked as far as baking goes. The only complaint I’ve ever had of them is that, when ripe, they lose a lot of their tartness. I like a tart fruit and pears are just so mild sometimes.
In that same breath, I think the next time I make this I’d love to experiment with other fruit. Pears, it’s not that I don’t love you. It’s that I need some time to experiment to see if you’re best for me. I’m interested in apples, of course…but maybe bananas too. Or peaches! Oh god, summer, come to me.
So yeah, I know, another recipe from Smitten Kitchen. It’s like, why even have my own blog when you can get the original version with Deb? Well, I don’t have a good answer for that, except that I’m new here. And I credit SK for a lot of my interest in baking. So look, folks, I’m paying homage before I spread my little baby wings and bring you mind-bogglingly original recipes. And also, shut up and make this cake.
Deb’s notes in ( ), mine in [ ]
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
3 pears, peeled, in a small dice [I used bosc]
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks [I used chips from Trader Joe’s]
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with breadcrumbs [Deb used flour…I lined mine with parchment but that is because my springform is kinda rusty], 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)
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.
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. 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.