I think fruits were made to be consumed in their natural state. Cooking them just complicates things ! Unfortunately complexity can be wonderful at times. Like when using a naturally yummy fruit with chocolate in a cake :). I usually resist using fruits in any dessert that calls for it’s usage beyond zesting, juicing and garnishing. The fruit pies and tarts and stews of this world will always be a second choice compared to the the real thing. However, I do believe in deviating from what I say, once in a while. Like when I read about this chocolate pear cake at the smittenkitchen. I had pears waiting to be used in a chutney (again, someone else’ request to stew a fruit :D) but I was craving a cake, an unusual cake. So I searched till I realized pear and chocolate cakes/tarts/pies were taking over the world. Instead of letting it go to everyone else, I decided to jump in and claim my fair share of this world at once. Thus began the saga of the Browned Butter ChocoPear cake.
I was apprehensive of the browned butter even though I am used to its use in Indian desserts. Not exactly a huge fan of it’s flavor though. Now you must be thinking what kind of a person writes about a cake that comprises of stuff she is not exactly a ‘fan’ of. Well, my kind of person writes about it, after actually doing it and successfully at that 🙂 . It turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise. A perfect dessert cake, with some vanilla ice cream. Moist due to the pear, very flavorful due to the browned butter and yummy due to the chocolate chips, this cake is an unusual fall treat, especially served slightly warm. And it’s easy to bake too. So without much ado, let’s jump in.
Ingredients: (Serves 8-10)
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 Bartlett but you can use softer varieties too)
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.
2. Sift and mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Whip the eggs on high speed until pale and very thick, almost 8-10 minutes in a home stand mixer (don’t forget to rest the mixer at least for a minute after every 4-5 minutes of use, if you want to preserve it’s life).
4. While the eggs are whipping, brown the butter. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and heat it, scraping the bottom once in a while, until the butter starts turning dark brown and smells nutty (about 6 minutes). Remove from the flame and cover it to keep it warm.
5. Add the sugar in a steady stream to the eggs and whip for another 1-2 minutes.
6. Just as the mixture starts to lose volume, reduce the speed to stir, and add the flour mixture in thirds and brown butter in half (starting and ending with the flour mixture). Whisk until just combined and then use a spatula to gently fold the batter until the ingredients are combined. It is very important not to over mix the batter or it will lose volume.
7. 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 until the cake tests done.
1. The pear and chocolate chips might seem to be a lot but once the cake rises and the batter engulfs the goodies, they won’t 🙂
2. You can also serve the cake with a nice dollop of whipped cream.
3. To serve, just dust with powdered sugar