I’m sorry, it was entirely unfair for me to wait this long to post this cake. Entirely.
It was baked and devoured back in April as part of a Seasonal Sunday Lunch feast and somehow is only now seeing the light of day.
Remember this Drunken Chocolate Caramel Tart madness? This is that, but re-born into dark, rich cake. With spiced red wine poached pears. And a sticky red wine sauce.
And as I just got back from a girls weekend in the Hunter Valley a red wine infused dessert is so perfectly fitting. You’re welcome.
Spiced Red Wine, Chocolate & Pear Cake
Makes: two 9 inch tart cakes
For the pears:
- 4 firm pears
- 1 1/2 c water
- 1 1/2 c red wine
- 1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the cake:
- 1 1/4 c raw sugar
- 100 ml red wine
- 150 g butter
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 100 g 85% dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
- 1 Tbsp whiskey or brandy
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 c buttermilk
- 1/2 c [35 g] cocoa powder
- 1 c unbleached white flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
Make the pears:
Peel pears and slice in half, remove core and stems. Place in a medium saucepan with the water, red wine and cinnamon. Scrunch up a wet square of baking [parchment] paper, flatten out and place over pears to keep submerged. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20-25 mins until tender.
Remove pears from pan, reserving liquid. Slice each half once lengthwise so you have 16 quarters, set aside for cake.
Simmer liquid for about 15-20 mins until reduced by half to a thick syrup, cool and serve over cake.
Make the cake:
Preheat oven to 180C [350F]. Grease base and sides of two 9 inch removable base tart tins. Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl, set aside.
Spread sugar in the bottom of a large heavy-based saucepan. Cook over medium heat, watching carefully but not stirring, until you start to see the sugar turn liquid on the edges. With a large metal spoon gently drag the edges into the centre, continuing until all sugar is melted.
Remove pan from heat the second the caramel starts to smoke and immediately pour in the wine, stir vigorously until the bubbling subsides and mixture is smooth. Add all the butter and salt, stir until mixture turns glossy. Add the chocolate and continue to stir until melted and glossy. Stir in whiskey.
Slowly drizzle about a third of the chocolate caramel into the beaten eggs, whisking vigorously as you pour to temper the eggs. Pour egg mixture back into the pan with the remaining chocolate caramel and whisk until smooth.
Whisk in all remaining ingredients – buttermilk through baking soda – until smooth. Pour half the batter into each prepared pan. Gently place 8 quarters in a sunburst shape on top of the batter.
Bake for 25 minutes until just firm in the centre. Cool completely in tins before removing sides. Serve with the syrupy red wine sauce and whipped sweetened cream
- Chocolate: if you can’t find 85% dark chocolate you can use half bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and half unsweetened chocolate.
- Caramel: you want the sugar to caramelise but not burn, this happens very quickly once it is all liquid. Watch it carefully and use your nose, it should smell toasted but not burnt and it is a very fine line, better to remove it sooner than later! Do not be tempted to wipe lumps off the spoon or touch the caramel, it will burn all your skin off. If it is really lumpy after adding the wine you can stir it over a very low heat to re-melt any seized pieces, just have a bit of patience.