I have found a good thing: Pears and Chocolate. In a CAKE.

It does not take much to romance me.

I don’t ever ask for flowers, or boxed chocolates, or even reservations at a fancy restaraunt. Flowers wilt and die. Boxed chocolates taste like chalk. And even the not-so-fancy restaraunts had a TWO AND A HALF HOUR WAIT last night. No thanks.

All I ask is some down time with the guy I love and a plateful of good food. And that is precisely what we did for V-Day: popped in a chick flick we actually both enjoy (neither of us like chick-flicks much – I find them waaaay too predictable/cheesy/fill in the blank, and the Husband, well…he’s a guy. But we have a couple exceptions.) and takeout from an AWESOME little Italian bistro down the street from us – Baci’s. (This is the place with the two and a half hour wait to actually eat in, yo.) We had to wait only 45 minutes after we called in for his calzone and my fettuccini alfredo – which also comes with a crusty, chewy mini-loaf of bread, salad, and marinara sauce. For about twenty bucks. Oh yeah, I am an awesome cheap date.

While we waited, we got kiddos ready for bed, and then exchanged little gifts “tochother”(a direct quote from my 3 year old linguist – it is a combination of “with each other” and “for each other” – whichever way he needs to use it at the time…). I suggested making this a literary Valentine’s – aka: “an excuse to buy more books!”, so……
for our little Sunshine Girl, we added to her beloved Sandra Boynton collection, and for the Boy, I discovered a DH cookbook for kids: Cool Kids Cook. He has been expressing more interest in helping me in the kitchen, and of COURSE you know I am all over that. (Will keep you posted on our adventures there.) For the Husband, I found a trio of political-type books that for some crazy reason, he finds enjoyment in – you know, watergate scandals, presidential facts, trivia or history, the works.
And for me? How did he do?

Yeah, baby – my guy KNOWS how to make me
weak in the knees

All he has to do is bring home something like this, and I am all his. Thanks, love. You rock. You would still rock if I ended up with a box of chocolates, or even nothing. But this is awesome, too. 🙂

Of course, I immediately made my way to the chocolate section of my new book and found that I had all the right stuff to make a little sweet for my sweetie THAT VERY MINUTE. We could have settled for the myriad of valentine candies sitting around, or the cookies my boy and I made two days ago – but this, this was going to take the cake, and I knew I had to make it. No really – it’s a cake.
Here is a step by step recipe for simple bliss in a pan, al a donna hay:
Remember these?

Go ahead and caramelize them a bit:

Spoon over the pears and their juices some cake-like ingredients and bake for 40 minutes:

Be sad that you have a crappy cake pan and that all the juices are running off…

Rejoice that it turned out anyway and take a lame night-time picture because you are so excited:

Bat your eyelashes at your Husband and maybe give him a kiss or two in thanks. Hey, wait a minute… YOU made the cake…make HIM do all the thanking! Sheesh. What kind of twisted fairy-tale IS THIS, anyway?

Chocolate Pear Cake
again, ever-so-slightly adapted from DH’s Flavors

NOTE: In my excitement to make this, I began the recipe before realizing that I only had half the amount of brown sugar called for. I completed the measurement with granulated sugar and the result was a more toffee-like syrup. I may just keep making it that way after all!

The pears:
2 ounces butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
4 small pears, peeled, quartered and cored. (Another note:
I used 4 seckel pears, which are really tiny, and I wish there had been more. Next time, I would use at least eight, or stick with a larger pear. The seckel really adds a nice texture, however – they tend to be more grainy and super-sweet, and that contrasts nicely to the simple cake. )

The Cake:
6 ounces butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
dash vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
round 1/3 cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit (180 C).
Place butter, sugars and water in a skillet over medium heat and stir until butter is melted. Add the pears, cut-side down and simmer for 2 minutes.
Line sides and bottom of a 9 inch cake pan with parchment. Place pears cut-side down in cake pan and pour pan juices over top. Set aside.
For the cake:
Place butter and sugars in stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa and mix gently until incorporated.
(Yet another note:This mixture will be THICK. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. When Donna Hay instructs you to spoon a cake mixture, she means get a trowel.)
“Spoon” cake mixture over the pears in the cake pan. Bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.
Cool in the pan five minutes. Invert onto a serving platter and try not to eat the whole thing yourself. I had a little whipped cream in the fridge, so we enjoyed our slices with some cream and a drizzle of yesterday’s cinnamon cream syrup. Seriously, I have an addiction problem with this syrup. Somebody help meeeee. My precious…

Taste the love, baby.

This post entered into this delicious contest, February 2008 – read more here!

Submitted to SHF #28. Thanks to Confessions of a Cardamom Addict for hosting!

14 thoughts on “I have found a good thing: Pears and Chocolate. In a CAKE.

  1. I refuse to go out on Valentine’s Day for that very reason! You were much better off at home, and it sounds like you made out like a bandit!

    And that cake- wow!

    ps-I’ve been shopping around for a cookbook for my niece, and the DH one looks just right. Thanks!

  2. krys – yay! thanks!!! i was quite happy with these pics – except the night shot. but i was so excited, haha!
    wanna piece? you may need to get it now. i am thinking i need a mid afternoon snack. you know, after the mid morning snack. and the after lunch snack.

    s’kat – we really did have a great relaxing evening – no stress, just the way i like it. hope you guys had the same!
    and the cake – thanks! it really is just that GOOD.
    my boy and i are about to go look through his new cookbook to see what we will make for lunch tomorrow! it is a realy fun book – just what i would have enjoyed as a kid. 🙂

  3. Yeah Chanelle is back!! Three post in three days… my goodness slow down girl don’t spoil us we’ll get used to it 😉 Can’t wait to try the pear cake! I want to try it with some Harry & David pears! That with Chocolate would be to die for.

  4. andrea – wow, thank you! postitive feedback is my favourite! 🙂

    bea – thank you so much! this was my first taste of pears and chocolate, and i am a believer.

    tara – hey there! thanks for being on my welcome-back wagon, haha! just trying to keep everyone on their toes. 🙂

  5. Yesterday I found the last ingredient: self raising flour and now, at 11:06 pm on a Tuesday night, just finished to eat my second warm slice. Turned out good and simple, I wish I had some whip cream to go with it. Was the first time I made it after finding your page and the “ever-so-slightly adapted from DH’s Flavors”. I will make it again! Thank you.

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