The other traditional fruit of a British autumn is the pear. Pears are at their best in late autumn, and the combination of pears and chocolate works particularly well. If you have a glut of pears, this delicious cake is a good way to use them. Here’s the recipe.
Pear and chocolate layer cake
5 oz (approx 125 g) wholemeal flour
5 oz (approx 125 g) self-raising flour
6 oz (approx 150 g) butter
3 oz (approx 75 g) ground almonds
2 oz (approx 50 g) light brown soft sugar or caster sugar
1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) almond essence
1 lb (approx 450 g) pears (about 12 oz [approx 350 g] after peeling and coring)
1 oz (approx 25 g) cocoa
2 teaspoons (2 x 5ml spoon) baking powder
4 oz (approx 100 g) dark brown soft sugar
1 Tablespoon (1 x 15 ml spoon) milk
Peel and core the pears. Cut into approx 1 cm cubes
Rub the butter into the wholemeal and self-raising flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Put approximately 2 oz of the mixture into a separate bowl. Stir in the ground almonds and light brown soft sugar. Add the almond essence and the white from one of the eggs, and mix well. Stir in the chopped pears.
Stir the cocoa, baking powder and dark brown sugar into the rest of the mixture. Add the egg yolk, remaining egg, and milk. Mix well.
Grease a shallow baking tin about 8” (approximately 20 cm) square.
Spread half the cocoa mixture in the bottom of the cake tin.
Spread the pear and almond mixture on top.
Spread the rest of the cocoa mixture on top (so you end up with a layer of pear and almond mixture sandwiched between two layers of the cocoa mixture).
Bake in a moderately hot oven at approx 180 C for about 1.25 to 1.5 hours, until the cake is firm and a skewer comes out clean.
Mark into squares. I usually expect to get about 16 squares. Cool in the tin for about 30 minutes.
Remove the squares from the tin, cool on a wire rack.
This cake will keep for 4-5 days in an airtight tin, and can be frozen.