When I told Keith that I was going to make a Pear & Chocolate Walnut Cake, his reaction was of utter disgust. I’ve always wanted to try combining pears and chocolate in a dish; what a perfect time to do so because I had a lot of perfectly ripened pears from Tippy Top Orchard that needed to be eaten up. After a quick search, I was enamored by Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake so I decided to make it with just a little twist. I added some toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts. The recipe calls for browned butter so I thought the addition of walnuts would further enhance the nutty aroma as well as add a different layer of sweetness to the cake.
With a Dusting of Cocoa and Powdered Sugar
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 T. baking powder
- 1/4 t. salt
- 3 large eggs, at room-temperature
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 3 pears, peeled, in a small dice (I used Anjou Pears from Tippy Top Orchard)
- 3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 c. walnuts
- 1 t. powdered sugar
- 1 t. cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take out 3 large eggs from the refrigerator (I used 4 because mine were small) and set aside so it can get to room temperature. Butter and dust a 9 inch springform pan with flour. Toast the walnuts in a pan until warm and slightly more aromatic, coarsely chop and set aside. Brown the butter in a small saucepan. Watch and stir it ever so often to prevent it from burning. It should turn a nice golden brown and smell nutty. Set aside. Measure out the flour, baking powder, and salt. Peel and dice the pears. Now, whip the eggs with a mixer until it triples in size, it should have the consistency of whipped cream with a pale yellow color. Gradually add the sugar while mixing then the flour mixture, 1/3 the amount at a time, then some of the butter. Alternate until everything is almost mixed in. Finish mixing with a spatula and gently fold the batter.
*Note: As you can see, my cake didn’t rise as much as it should have because I was impatient and dumped the entire amount of browned butter at once while mixing the batter. Don’t do that. 🙂
Pour the batter into the cake pan then gently sprinkle the pears, walnuts, and chocolate chips on top of it. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when you test it. Let it cool for a bit then dust with the cocoa and powdered sugar. (I made a little pear shaped cutout with a piece of construction paper and placed it on top of the cake before dusting with the powders for decoration.)
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