A thin, vanilla and spice soaked chocolate sponge topped with poached pears. Can be served hot or cold.
Serves 6 -8
For the pears:
-6-8 pears (I used conference pears, which hold their shape well)
-1 vanilla pod
-1/2 tsp mixed spice
-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-100ml ginger wine
For the cake:
-125g butter, softened
-125g self-raising flour
-125g caster sugar
-2 tbsp cocoa powder
-50g dark chocolate, finely grated
1. First start with the pears. Keeping the stem intact, carefully peel the pears and take a slice off the bottom so they can stand upright. Using an apple corer and sharp knife, remove the seeds from the centre of the pear, cutting into the pear from the bottom.
2. In a large saucepan gently heat the sugar, ginger wine, water, vanilla (split) and spices. Lower in the pears, cover, and poach for 15 - 20 minutes or until just tender.
3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 23cm spring-form tin.
4. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Crack in one egg at a time, mixing well after each addition (adding a spoonful of flour with each egg will prevent the mix from splitting). Finally, sift in the flour and cocoa powder, then fold in with the grated chocolate.
5. Pour the cake mixture into the tin and spread out to the edges, it will be a thin spreading as this will not be a thick cake.
6. Bake the cake on the middle shelf for 30 - 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
7. To serve the cake, remove the pears from their poaching syrup and put to one side. Reduce the remaining syrup over a medium - high heat until thickened. Use a fine skewer to pierce the cake all over, then pour over some of the syrup spreading it over the cake as you go. Arrange the pears on top of the cake.
Can be served with cream, custard or ice cream.