If you’re looking for a delicious chocolatey cake you’ll keep coming back to time and time again, this is the one! This gorgeous cake is a favourite in kitchens across the country thanks to its perfect combination of dark chocolate, brandy, pear and an amazing apricot glaze. To really take it to the next level, serve with a nice drizzle of thickened cream and a sprinkling of icing sugar. Delish!
- Caster sugar to line sides of the tin
- 100g butter, plus extra for greasing
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 100g caster sugar, plus extra for tin
- 4 ripe, but firm, pears
- 100g packet ground almonds (almond meal)
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam
- 1 teaspoon brandy (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Butter a 23-25cm (9-10 inch) cake or flan tin and put a disc of baking parchment in the base. Spoon in a little caster sugar to coat the inside of the tin, then tip out the excess.
2. Melt the butter and chocolate together, in a bowl over a pan of hot water or in a microwave oven. Add the brandy, and let the mixture sit to cool a little.
Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is thick and creamy and a trail can be seen in the mixture when the whisk is lifted up.
3. To prepare the pears, peel with a vegetable peeler, the cut in halt lengthways. Use a melon baller, or a teaspoon, to scoop out the pips in the centre.
Fold the melted chocolate mixture along with the ground almonds into the whisked egg-yolk mixture – the mixture will come together in a fairly stiff ball.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they’re stiff. Stir in a couple of tablespoons of the egg whites fairly vigorously into the chocolate mixture, to loosen it up.
5. Add the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture and carefully fold in using a large metal spoon or spatula, taking care not to overwork it or the air will be lost and the sponge won’t rise as much.
6. Pour the mixture gently into the tin, and arrange the pear halves on top, with the cut-side down (these will sink as the cake bakes).
Bake cake in the centre of the oven for 45 mins to 1 hour, or until it’s set in the centre (use a skewer to test). Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring it to a wire rack.
7. Press the apricot jam through a sieve, add the brandy (if using) and warm in the microwave to make it easy to brush over the cake. Brush it over the cake while it’s still hot. Let the cake cool (it can be served warm or at room temperature).
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