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Walnut Pear Cake

A pear and walnut cake layered with caramelized walnuts, caramelized pears and covered in chocolate ganache, perfect for pre-Christmas indulgence!
Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12
Author Caramel Tinted Life (Adapted from http://www.daringgourmet.com/)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large very ripe pear mashed
  • 1 large very ripe pear cut into small cubes
  • For the Caramelized Pears
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 pear thinly sliced
  • For the Caramel Walnut Topping:
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • For the Chocolate ganache
  • 300 gms milk chocolate chopped (40-44% cocoa content)
  • ¼ cup good quality cocoa powder
  • 160 ml heavy cream 35% fat content

Instructions

  • Prepare 2 6" cake pans by rubbing the insides with butter and dusting them with flour. Dust off any excess flour.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F)
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, eggs, butter, mashed pear, milk, and vanilla extract. Using a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer, beat until combined.
  • Stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture, adding the dry ingredients gradually, and continue to beat till just combined
  • Add the diced pear and mix them gently into the batter
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • To make the Caramelized Pear:
  • In a saucepan, add the butter and let it melt on low heat
  • Once the butter foams, add the sugar and let it cook until it starts to bubble
  • Add the sliced pears and mix it gently, taking care to not break the pear slices
  • The pears will release juices and caramelize
  • Turn off the heat once the pears are soft and cooked through
  • To make the Caramel Walnut Topping:
  • Combine the brown sugar, butter, and heavy cream in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Add the walnuts and boil for another 3-4 minutes
  • Keep aside to cool
  • To make the Chocolate Ganache
  • In a high-sided pan, heat the cream untill it comes to a boil
  • As soon as it starts boiling, turn off the heat and add the chopped chocolate and cocoa
  • Stir this with a whisk for a minute or so, until the ganache is of a smooth consistency and all the chocolate has melted
  • Let the ganache cool. The more it cools, the harder the ganache sets
  • The ganache needs to be of a pipe-able consistency, so you could let it set for a few minutes in the fridge, if you live in a warm area
  • To Assemble the cake:
  • Using a serrated knife, cut the tops of the cake layers to flatten them
  • Spread a layer or caramelized walnuts on one layer and sandwich it with the other layer of cake
  • Now, using an off-set spatula, transfer the ganache to the cake. I used a turntable and a bench-scraper to smooth the edges of the cake
  • Top the cake with the caramelized pears and walnuts
  • Refrigerate the cake after a day, and eat within 5-6 days

Notes

The finishing of the ganache doesn't have to be perfect. If you are not looking for smooth edges for your cake, you could spread coarsely-ground walnut bits on the ganache, or using a spatula, make waves in the ganache for a rustic look