Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Chocolate, Pear and Almond Sponge



I have what I think is not a great habit, cutting stuff out of magazines and keeping them for a rainy day. I blame my Mum. My Mum is, and her Mum was also, the queens of cutting stuff out whether it be a coupon or a recipe. Anyhow I try not to do it too much only when I absolutely feel the need and seeing this recipe I felt it was essential that one day I baked it and finally I have! And it was worth the wait. 
Last week marked the occasion of the 100th book read in my book club group. Personally it wasn't my 100th book read as I joined the group a little after it's first beginnings but in any case I thought a celebration cake was in order and I finally had all the ingredients to try this one out. 

Ingredients:

Pear Topping
1 ripe pear
Cake mixture
200g golden caster sugar plus 1 tbsp extra
200g softened unsalted butter (I know hefty amount of butter but worth the indulgence...)
3 medium eggs
200g ground almonds
50g flaked almonds
25g cocoa sifted
2 tsp baking powder sifted
2 tbsp dark rum
100g dark chocolate chips (or just use dark choc and chop small as I did)

You will need a 23cm square cake tin ideally. I used a 22cm square tin which worked fine.
Peel the pear and quarter, core and slice. Toss the slices with 1 tbsp caster sugar in a bowl and set aside for 10-15 minutes to draw out some of the juices. 
In the meantime, butter and line the cake tin and pre-heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
Place the first seven ingredients for the cake mixture in the bowl of a food processor and whiz to cream together, then add the rum. Transfer to a bowl (or if using a mixer take off mixer) and then add two thirds of the choc chips or the chopped chocolate which is what I used as I had no chocolate chips. 

Drain the sugar-y pear slices on some kitchen roll and pat dry. 
Transfer the cake mix into your cake tin, smooth it over and scatter over the pear slices and remaining chocolate chips/chopped pieces.

Bake for 50-55 minutes until dry and firm in the centre and a skewer comes out clean. 
Run knife around the sides of the cake and leave to cool for at least 15 minutes. 

My book club gang and I ate the cake just cooled without anything with it and it was super crumbly but very delicious. It would be equally if not more luxuriously enjoyed warm with some vanilla ice cream. 

It should keep well in an airtight container for 2 days but let's face it, it never lasts that long. 
Oh and for anyone interested the book we chose as our 100th read was Love, Loss & The Lives of Women. A Collection of short stories chosen by Victoria Hislop, would thoroughly recommend it.

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