Love Cocoa's Festive Poached Pear & Chocolate Cake
The Christmas season is well and truly upon us, so what better way to celebrate than to indulge in some festive baking. There's no better home to come home to than one smelling of Love Cocoa chocolate and poaching chai-infused pears. Trust me.
Bake either a whole cake for a marvellous Christmas dinner party centrepiece, or split into rustic muffin cases and slice pears in half for delightful individuals. Best of all, true to our dark chocolate bars here at Love Cocoa, this recipe is 100% vegan. Proving that you don't always need mountains of butter and refined sugar for your baked goods, this rustic recipe supplements butter with luxurious extra virgin olive oil, sticky dates and almond milk. YUM.
- 750 ml water
- 150g brown sugar
- 3 chai tea bags
- 6 small, firm pears
Sticky date cake
- 300g pitted Medjool dates, roughly chopped
- 2.5 tbsp flaxseed
- 450 ml unsweetened almond milk
- 300 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 260g soft brown sugar
- 300g self-raising flour
- 1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 bars (160g) Love Cocoa Ecuador Dark 70%
Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Grease and line a 9 inch (22cm) tin.
In medium saucepan, add water, sugar, tea bags & place on medium heat. Bring to gentle boil, then simmer on low heat until the sugar has melted.
While simmering, peel the pears (leave the stems), & slice ½ inch off the bottom so the pears sit flat. Remove core with a melon baller or small teaspoon & scoop out the pips. Place pears in poaching liquid, cover with lid & poach on gentle heat for 15-20 minutes. Set the pears aside to cool in the liquid. Discard the tea bags.
Place the dates, flaxseeds & almond milk into medium saucepan & bring to gentle simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the dates are soft. Place the date mixture into a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Add the olive oil and whizz again to combine. Set aside to cool.
In large mixing bowl, add brown sugar, self-rising flour, baking soda, spice & salt, & whisk to combine. Add olive oil date mixture & stir well. Add chopped Love Cocoa chocolate. OH YES. Pour into the prepared cake tin or muffin cases.
Place pears to stand upright into the batter (the bottom half of the pear should be covered), in a circular formation in the large cake so the pears are evenly spread out.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean (may take up to 15 minutes longer in larger cake depending on oven). Set aside to cool for 8-10 minutes.
While the pears are baking, bring the pear poaching liquid back to the boil and simmer on high heat until reduced and thick, about 5-6 minutes. While the cake is still warm, brush or spoon the syrup over the cake, allowing the liquid to absorb into the cake before adding more. Keep a little of the syrup aside for serving.