The best chocolate has a high cocoa content and uses only pure cocoa butter (rather than vegetable or palm oil). Look for cocoa powder that has been “dutched’’. This process darkens the powder and gives a smoother flavour. Check the label when buying — the higher the fat content, the better the flavour.
|3 large||Pears, beurre bosc (Main)|
|1||Lemon, juice of|
|1 ¼ cups||Flour|
|¼ cup||Cocoa powder, dark|
|1 ½ tsp||Baking powder|
|¾ cup||Caster sugar, plus 2 Tbsp for sprinkling|
|½ cup||Ground almonds|
|1 tsp||Vanilla extract|
|150 g||Butter, melted and cooled|
|125 g||Dark chocolate, cut into small pieces or coarsely grated|
|½ cup||Cream, double cream is good here|
|¼ cup||Milk, full-fat|
|1 tsp||Liquid honey|
- Heat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 23cm round cake tin.
- Slice the pears thinly placing in a bowl as you go and sprinkle with the lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a large bowl. Add ¾ cup caster sugar, the ground almonds, eggs and vanilla extract. Using an electric hand beater, beat on a low speed until smooth.
- Gently stir in the butter and milk.
- Spread half the cake mixture over the base of the prepared tin and arrange half of the pear slices on top. Spread over the remaining cake mixture then arrange the remaining pears on top. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp caster sugar.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer is inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Leave to sit in the tin for 10 minutes before removing. Serve warm with chocolate sauce, cream or yoghurt.
- Combine ingredients in a small heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir until smooth.
- Remove bowl from heat and leave to cool a little. This sauce thickens as it cools. Makes about 1 cup.