Sunday, September 22, 2013

pear apple almond cake with dark chocolate






I love Sunday evenings. The house is peaceful, I am happy. Most times my heart and my stomach are absolutely satisfied - good food shared with the people I love best in all the world is a simple pleasure and an absolute luxury. A luxury that I never take for granted and hope to never live without. Today we shared our Sunday dinner with Thomas and his family. Ewan is teething and wanted everything and nothing but finally settled very happily on a cob of corn. Theo negotiated for another piece of bbq'd sausage with every bite of potato and Jane is so grown up that she ate her dinner and chatted about life and kindergarten with all the √©lan of a five year old. A bit chaotic but ever so much more charming and dear than the most gracious dinner party. It is the kind of party I most cherish.

The carrot on the end of the stick this evening was the cake that was baking when everyone arrived. Always a good thing to have a carrot to dangle when one's dinner guests are balking at their vegetables and this was a particularly appealing carrot. I must admit that I was a tiny bit anxious that this particular enticement might disappoint my youngest guests as it has a generous amount of dark chocolate (something that does not appeal to the palates of many youngsters) but I need not have worried. Theo devoured his with intense concentration while Jane attended to her dessert with a little more delicacy but no less enthusiasm. The rest of the table simply enjoyed.

The recipe is one that I found a few years ago on Smitten Kitchen and have made several times. Today I played with the sugar and flour, and added some apples from our tree outside. It is an incredibly delicious cake and so simple to make. Loaded with fruit and dark chocolate, topped with some softly whipped heavy cream...

There is browned butter in this cake. Browned butter and I have a history and it isn't a happy one. I have learned to do nothing but brown the butter and even then I don't take my eyes off the task for even a second. Not to check a recipe or stir another pot. Nothing. Every time I do, the butter burns. Just that fast it goes from perfectly fine to black and bitter. It seems to me the critical moment is the nutty smell, just after the foaming begins to subside.  (If you wait for the butter to truly brown you're hooped - it will continue to darken off the heat.) That is the moment to remove the pan from the heat but keep stirring for a minute or two - bad things can still happen to those precious milk solids. It is a little tricky but a trick well worth mastering. The cake is ever so much better for it.

pear apple almond cake with dark chocolate
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen) 

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose spelt flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
3 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large pears, diced
1 small apple, diced
3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks

Butter and flour a 9 inch springform pan, set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together the flours, salt and baking powder.

Using a mixer whip the eggs on high speed for 5-9 minutes until pale and very thick. While the eggs are whipping, brown the butter (or brown it before you begin the whipping). When the eggs are sufficiently whipped, add the sugar and continue whipping for another minute. Turn the speed down to stir and add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then half of the butter, a third of the flour, the remaining butter, and the rest of the flour.Stir just until combined.

Pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the pear, apple and chocolate pieces over the top and bake at 350 degrees F. until the cake is brown and springs back to the touch - about 50 minutes in my oven. (there is a lot of fruit in this cake and it is very moist but there is a difference between moist and underdone - test carefully)

Serve with softly whipped cream.

1 comment:

Melanie said...

So, I left instagram to see if that yummy cake was was on your blog. YAY! It is and it looks divine. I will make this for my next dinner guests. Plus, your blog post regarding the cake were yummy too. Painted a lovely picture of a "sweet" day. Thanks for sharing. - m -