Pear upside down chocolate cake
There are times for a fruit cake, there are times for a chocolate cake and then there are times when either one of the two is just not enough. A few pears where lying around in my fruit basket for 3-4 days and no one from the family seemed to be picking them up. I toyed with the idea of caramelizing them or just baking them on a tray, as they show on many a cooking shows, when an idea struck me, why not make a cake out of it.
I have done one pear and chocolate cake before and knew the two really go well. So I decided to bake an intense chocolate cake and take the indulgence one notch up by having this ultimate layer of pears dripped in salted caramel, turned upside down.
This cake has something for everyone, there is fruit, there is chocolate and there is the salted caramel. Served this with vanilla ice-cream and I can promise my family now thinks pears are one of the best fruits!
Do not get discouraged by the number of steps in making this cake, once you have got everything lined up on your table they seem simple enough and trust me, it is worth every bit of effort.
For the caramelized pears -
2-3 medium sized pears, peeled, cored and sliced into thin wedges
juice of one lime
2 tablespoons or approx 40 gm butter
half cup or approx 80 gm brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon himalayan pink salt
For the cake
slightly less than 1/2 cup or 80 ml cooking oil
1 cup packed or approx 140 gm sugar
1 cup generous or approx 220 grams plain flour
3 tablespoons on approx 40 gm cocoa powder
40 gm baking chocolate, unsweetened
1/2 cup or approx 120 ml sour cream or milk+yogurt half and half
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4th cup water
Line an 8 inch tin with baking paper and grease sides generously with butter
Slice the pears into thin wedges and drizzle juice of 1 lime - this prevents the pears from browning
In a heavy non-stick pan, melt the butter and add brown sugar. Stir lightly and let the sugar caramelize. Just as the mixture starts bubbling add a dash of water and mix to get a smooth caramel. Add salt to bring out the rich salted-caramel flavour
Pour caramel sauce in the tin
Fan out pear slices on the base, pour over any remaining caramel.
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees (you can do this once you start mixing the cake batter)
Boil water and mix in cocoa powder
Chop the chocolate into fine pieces and melt over a double boiler.
In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and soda
Beat oil and sugar till fluffy and pale
Switch off the electric beater and use spatula for the remaining steps.
Now add 1/4th flour mix to the batter, followed by cocoa-water mix.
Next add another 1/4th of the flour followed by yogurt-milk or sour cream
Add next batch of 1/4th of the flour mix, this time followed by the egg
End with the remaining flour and mix in.
Pour on top of the prepared pear-caramel base
Bake at 180 degrees for 30-33 mins
The cake will appear moist on the sides, due to the oozing caramel but will pass the skewer test at other parts of the cake.
When done, cool in the tin for 5 mins then gently invert on a wire rack such that the pears are on top.
Peel off the baking paper to reveal perfectly caramelized pears