The Great British Bake Off is back. I, for one, couldn’t be happier. Yes, all things being equal, I would have preferred for the show to remain on the BBC, but at least in part for fussy logistical reasons. I don’t like advert breaks, and I don’t like All 4 as much as iPlayer. But I still think everything’s going to be okay. I love Mel and Sue, and I love Mary, but I can hardly go complaining about Prue Leith as a replacement (having somewhat of a Leiths connection…), and I think Sandi and Noel stepped admirably into large shoes. They kept the music. I’m happy. So, here we are again, for the Bake Off Bake Along. And here’s my pear, chocolate, and almond cake. Really, any excuse to make a chocolate cake.
I’ve got a rather busy couple of months coming up, as I’ll be commuting to London and working full time for a while. Unfortunately, this busy period coincides exactly with the time to Great British Bake Off is airing. so while I’m going to try to have a stab at the Bake Along, I’ll be taking the path of least resistance every time. This week, that means a fruity cake.
Mini rolls are lovely and all, but fiddly and hard to make look pretty. And the showstopper was never going to happen. One of the things I am most terrible at, baking-wise, is making cakes look like other stuff. If it’s tasty and looks like a cake, I’m all for it.
And this pear, chocolate, and almond cake is tasty. And it looks like a cake. A chocolate cake, at that.
If you want to know what this Bake Off Bake Along shindig is all about, check out this post by Amanda over at Rhyme and Ribbons here. It’s just an excuse to watch TV and bake cake, really.
Loosely adapted from this recipe.
This lovely chocolate cake just so happens to be gluten free, but doesn’t use any fancy special flours or ingredients. It’s moist, soft, and keeps well. You could, of course, try it with other fruit. The fruit will sink into the cake quite a bit as it bakes, but don’t worry, you’re going for a rustic look.
100g butter, plus a little extra to grease
100g 70% dark chocolate
2 tbsp rum (you can skip this if you want)
100g caster sugar, plus a little extra for the tin
3 eggs, separated
100g ground almonds
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and quartered
icing sugar to dust and cream or ice cream to serve, if you like
- Heat your oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ gas 4. Put your butter and dark chocolate in a glass bowl above a pan of simmering water to melt together. Butter a 23cm loose-bottomed or springform cake tin, line the base, butter everything again, and then pop a couple of tbsp caster sugar into the tin and roll it round to coat the base and sides.
- Remove your melted butter and chocolate from the heat, stir in the rum if using, and leave to cool. Pop your caster sugar in a bowl with your egg yolks and whisk with an electric whisk until thick and mousse-like. Fold this into the chocolate mixture, then add the ground almonds and fold those in too.
- In a separate bowl with clean beaters, whisk your egg whites to stiff peaks. Beat a big spoonful of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen, then fold the rest in carefully. Gently pour your mixture into your cake tin, then arrange your pear slices and raspberries on top of the batter. Bake for around half an hour, or until risen and firm. Leave to cool in the tin for at least 15 minutes before trying to remove it, as it’s quite delicate. Serve with icing sugar, cream, or ice cream, if you like.