Is it just me, or do plans rarely ever come to fruition? At first, I wanted to make a chocolate pear tart. I had it all planned out. I had the ingredients and all that jazz, but JUST when I started to make them I felt like baking a chocolate pear cake, instead! I imagined that the pears, chocolate, and buttercream would pair together well and OMG… they did!! Recently, I made a berry cake with a mascarpone whipped cream filling. It was beyond addictive as I LOVE mascarpone. It inspired me to do something similar for this cake. I whipped up a mascarpone buttercream flavored with brandy and reduced poaching liquid, from the pears. Did I mention that I poached the pears with brandy? ??? Anyhow, this buttercream is lighter and less sweet than the regular version. As a result, the chocolate and pears really are pronounced. We aren’t done yet! The cake is drenched in chocolate ganache and topped with a pear glaze made from the poaching liquid. I usually try to eat all my desserts in moderation but I can’t say the same for this one. Cheers to my lack of willpower ???. Hope you enjoy!
Rich chocolate cake enriched with poached pears smothered in a mascarpone buttercream with a healthy drizzle of chocolate ganache.
- 4 cups peeled and diced pears d'angou
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 6 oz semisweet chocolate
- 4 oz butter
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 1/3 cup poaching liquid
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk yogurt
- 1 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1 tsp brandy
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- 6 sticks unsalted butter
- 16 oz mascarpone
- 1/4 cup reduced poaching liquid
Add the water, brandy, sugar, vanilla, cardamom and lemon juice to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add the diced pairs and lower temperature to a simmer. Cook until softened, about 20 minutes, and move the pear pieces to a bowl and allow to cool.
Reserve 1/3 cup of the poaching liquid and bring the rest back to a simmer and cook until reduced by about half. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Reserve 1/4 cup of the reduced liquid for the buttercream and then whisk in confectioners' sugar into the remaining liquid until the desired thickness is reached for a glaze.
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour three 8" pans. I use cake strips to aid in even baking but these are optional.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a small bowl. You can use a double boiler or microwave at half power in 20 second spurts.
Sift the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and soda into a large bowl and whisk together.
In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment add the eggs and sugar and mix on high for several minutes. Add the yogurt and melted chocolate mixture, brandy and 1/3 cup of poaching liquid and beat until well incorporated.
Add the flour mixture and mix on low until just combined. Fold in the poached pears carefully using a spatula.
Distribute the batter evenly to the three pans and bake at 350F for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cream the butter until it lightens and changes texture, at least 5 minutes. Beat in the confectioners' sugar. Add the mascarpone cheese and 1/4 cup of the reduced poaching liquid. beat JUST until combined. If you over beat the texture will loose it's silkiness.
Melt the chocolate, cream and brandy in a double boiler or microwave. Remove from heat and stir until all the chocolate is melted.
Use a spatula to place a generous amount of buttercream on the first layer. Liberally drizzle the ganache on top and place second layer on top. Repeat steps and cover cake with a thin coat of buttercream. Scrape the vertical side down and pipe dollops on top using an 858 tip. Drizzle some ganache on top of the dollops and top with shaved chocolate. Spoon glaze on the center to form a pool and serve.
Adding the chocolate ganache between each layer makes a huge difference. It really adds a richness to each bite.
Cake totally delicious at this point, but I had to go full out and add some more buttercream, chocolate and pear glaze!
I have to repeat, mascarpone buttercream is amazing! Just make sure not to overmix it!
My first but not last piece!
I love those big pear chunks!
My only regret is not eating more…