I know you were waiting for me to bring you Hamantashen... and I wanted to, I really did. I even bought all the ingredients for the cookies and then... I made chocolate pear cake instead. I don't know what happened to me, but somewhere between the store and my kitchen, cookies morphed into cake and let me tell you, I am so not sorry. Because this chocolate cake? It's the bomb. It's moist and intensely chocolaty, and at the same time so soft and light and faintly sweet, like a flourless chocolate cake that's been given an airlift and taken to places it's never dreamt of going. In fact, I feel so strongly about it that I'm telling you right now - whatever dessert you were planning to make next, scrap it for this cake. Eat it warm with some softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle a few raspberries on top. You will thank me later, I swear.
Chocolate Pear Cake
[Dairy-Free Note: I made this cake twice, once substituting a dairy-free Earth's Balance spread for the butter. This did not change the texture or the taste, but I did find that I had to bake it a bit longer, maybe an extra 10 min, with the substitution. So, if you need to make this dairy free, know that you can]
4 oz unsalted butter, softened (or unsalted non-dairy substitute)
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped (melted and cooled slightly)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal (finely ground almonds), or hazelnut meal, or combination of both
4 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, or Dutch process cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
4 Bosc pears, poached (sometimes, I use poached pears from a jar to save time)
Poach the pears: peel, cut in half and core the pears. Combine 2-3 cups of water and half a cup of sugar in a sauce pan on medium-high heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the pears (add more water if needed to cover the pears), bring to a low boil and cook for 20-25 min or until fork tender. Drain and set aside.
Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Butter or spray a 9 or 10 inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate and set aside. [This can be done one of two ways: (1) In the microwave, on 20 second intervals or (2) in a bain marie - set a saucepan with about an inch of water over high heat; bring to a boil and turn down the heat; put the chopped chocolate in a shallow-ish, heatproof bowl; set the bowl over the saucepan, making sure the bottom does not touch the water; watch the cocolate melt.]
Sift together the flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Beat butter and sugar on a medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the melted chocolate, beat on a low speed until combined. Still on low speed, add the sifted flour mixture and beat for 1 minute, or until just combined.
Pour the batter into prepared cake pan. Arrange the sliced pears in a circle. Bake the cake for 30 to 40 minutes. Do not overbake. When a tester is inserted into the center of the cake, it should come out with a few moist crumbs attached. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. I think caramel would be pretty awesome here too.