Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Chocolate Pear Cake



Here's a lovely dairy-free and egg-free dessert that I've been making regularly for at least fifteen years but it's still a favourite in our house!

Because I'm more conscious of my sugar intake these days, I don't eat a lot of puddings, especially not straight after a main course.  However, I do love a good dessert especially when we have friends round for a meal. Having a whole evening to savour each other's company as well as the food is a real joy so I never rush to clear away the plates and dishes after each course!  Usually everyone's happily chatting away and anyway, it gives us time to let the food digest and make room for what's to come!

This Chocolate Pear Cake takes very little effort to make. In fact the only difficult part is remembering to buy your pears the week before so they're not rock hard!  Any variety of pears will do, such as conference or rocha.  It looks really impressive and tastes delicious too, especially served with a spoonful of Swedish Glace non-dairy vanilla or chocolate icecream.  

It can be made well in advance and kept in the fridge for a few days.   


Ingredients               Serves 6

Topping:
25g dairy free margarine (e.g. Pure)
25g light brown raw cane sugar
3 or 4 pears 
1 heaped tbsp roasted chopped hazelnuts

Cake:
75g dairy free margarine
85g unrefined golden castor sugar
100g self-raising flour
25g cocoa (e.g.Green & Black's)
half tsp instant coffee
2 tbsp soya milk

Method

First grease and line an 8" sandwich tin with greaseproof paper or baking parchment.  

Then make the topping by melting the margarine and sugar together in a bowl in the microwave or alternatively in a small pan. 

Mix with a wooden spoon until blended then spread over the base of your lined tin.

Peel and quarter the pears. Cut each quarter lengthways into three.  Then arrange them neatly in a wheel design around the edge of the tin, overlapping the pieces. 
Spoon most of the chopped nuts into the centre. 


Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4

Whisk the margarine and sugar together for about a minute until light and creamy. 


Sieve the flour and cocoa together and gradually add to the mix, blending well until the ingredients are incorporated but don't overmix. Finally add the coffee and enough milk to make a fairly stiff cake mix.


Now transfer the cake mixture to the tin.  To avoid disrupting the pears, spoon the mixture a little at a time until most of the pears are covered.  


Then with a knife or your fingers, gently press the cake mixture down and carefully level the top.


Bake for 30 minutes until the sides are just beginning to come away from the tin.   Leave to cool in the tin on a cooling rack.  


When it's cold, cover and place in the fridge.  

When you're ready to serve,  take a knife and run it around the edge of the tin.  Then place your serving plate on top and carefully tip it over so the cake drops out.  If it doesn't come out straight away, hold the cake tin and the plate firmly together in your hands and give it a gentle shake.

Remove the parchment paper and add a few extra chopped nuts in the centre.



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