This rich, dense, moist and very chocolatey cake came about when I had a few things that needed to be used: 3 ripe pears, a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar, sour cream and some mascarpone cheese.
As I had no dark chocolate of any kind in the house I bought a slab of dark chocolate with 72% cocoa butter, and used some of that. This really intensified the chocolate flavour and richness.
The pears added moisture and sweetness, while the sour cream upped the richness factor even more. Despite the sugar and pears, this cake was not overly sweet to the taste, but dense, rich and screaming chocolate from every bite!
My idea to add a layer of mascarpone to the centre did not worked out quite as planned....instead of staying as an obvious separate layer, it melted and blended into the batter a bit, but this was not a bad thing at all.
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together:
6 ounces softened butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
When the butter and sugar are light and fluffy, add:
2 eggs, one at a time
1 teaspoon vanilla
Sift together the dry ingredients:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 of the dry ingredients to the mixer, and mix on low speed until just combined.
1/4 cup sour cream
Mix until combined, and then scrape the bowl down.
Add the remaining dry ingredients in two additions, alternating with 1/4 cup sour cream.
3 ripe pears, cored
Add the grated pear to the batter, along with:
1/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate
Mix gently until just combined
To make the mascarpone filling, combine:
3 ounces mascarpone
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons finely chopped dark chocolate
Turn the oven on to heat up to 350F. Lightly grease a bundt pan.
Spread 1/3 of the chocolate pear batter on the bottom of the prepared pan.
Gently spread the mascarpone filling on top of the chocolate pear batter, keeping it away from the sides of the pan.
Place the remaining chocolate pear batter on top of the mascarpone and carefully spread it evenly in the pan.
Bake until the cake has risen, is slightly cracked in the centre and a wooden slewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
This took around 60 minutes in my oven.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, before inverting it onto a cooling rack. Leave to cool to room temperature before cutting and serving. This cake actually tastes even better the following day, so if you can make it a day ahead, do so; the richness of the chocolate intensifies.
I served the cake with afternoon coffee, but it can be served as a dessert...simply add some whipped cream!
- For the liquid ingredients in the batter, buttermilk, or plain yoghurt can be used instead of sour cream.
- Instead of pears, try grated apple, zucchini, boiled or roasted (not pickled) beets. You will need 2 cups of whichever alternative you choose to use.
- If you have chocolate chips, use those.
- Mascarpone is not something that I buy very often, and I had actually been trying out a recipe to make some with leftover whipping cream. I was happy with the result, but needed to use it for something, and it was a very small amount.
- Cream cheese can be used instead of mascarpone.
- The mascarpone can be flavoured with lemon or orange zest as well.
- This cake can be made in two loaf pans if you do not have a bundt pan.
- In the event that you have any cake left, it can be frozen...wrap it well.