I have such trouble with chocolate cakes. They either dry out so they are like eating loose pumice, or, given a little less time in the oven, they are raw and sloppy.
I think I’ve cracked it with this recipe. It’s an adaption of a brownie recipe laid over some of my bottled pears, in a classic ‘belle-Helene’ flavour combination.
100g good quality dark chocolate
30g cocoa powder
90g plain flour
tin of pears, or fresh pears that have been quartered and poached in syrup for 20 minutes
- Melt the chocolate and butter together, and allow to cool slightly, to blood heat.
- Grease an 8″ cake tin, and arrange drained pears on the bottom.
- Beat eggs and sugar together until pale, creamy and doubled in size. This could take up to 10 minutes, but don’t stint on this bit because I think it’s the key to the texture of the finished cake.
- Add chocolate and butter to eggs and sugar. Careful now! Fold it in very, very gently.
- Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, and again, fold very gently. You’ve worked hard to get that air in – don’t knock it out!
- Pour over the pears and bake in a moderate oven (160°), for 45 minutes. You can tell it’s done if you give the tin a small knock and it doesn’t wobble in the middle.
- Allow to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a plate, upside down so that the mastery of your pear arrangement can be admired.
I’ve only managed to serve it very rustically so far (see pic), accompanied with a squodge of clotted cream. One day I hope to make it super posh by cutting an elegant thin slice with a sharp knife and assembling it on a plate with a little cage of lacy chocolate, and a quenelle of chocolate ganache, plus a swift ‘pouf!’ of cocoa powder. One day…