Pear Spice Cake with Brown Butter Frosting & Dark Chocolate Drip
This is the sixth time I’ve made this cake in the last three years & the first time that I’ve been truly happy with the photographs. Which sounds a bit like I’m just being a perfectionist, but literally every time I’ve made it before the light has been waaaay too harsh for food photography. The good news is that each time I’ve made it I’ve tweaked the recipe – a scoop less sugar here, an extra dash of spice there, a sneaky extra tablespoon of cream all over – and it is FINALLY at the point where I don’t feel I can make it any better.
I find myself making this cake every year around autumn time. In an ideal world, next year I’ll be making it with pears from my very own pear tree. In reality, my pear tree only grew one small offering this year, which the insanely windy weather claimed before I could. A girl can dream. Regardless, I can’t be the only one craving comforting spiced cakes this time of year, right? A little hint of spice peared with (excuse the pun) some brown butter frosting & a melt in the mouth cake is exactly what we need in order to get us in the mood for the upcoming season! I’m reluctant to say the C-word in October, but as it looms ever closer I promise that this cake is a nice way to ease into it.
Six batches of cake & countless taste-testers later, I can safely say that I’ve received a lot of feedback on this cake. It’s extra pear-y, lightly spiced with cinnamon + cardamom, and the brown butter frosting is so good that I’ve actually considered using it as a body cream. (Boyfriend talked me out of it, don’t worry.) I’m not sure how you guys feel about cardamom, but I think it is such a game changer for bakes this time of year – it adds just a hint of intrigue to the pear cake and it works so well with the brown butter frosting. On that topic, can we just acknowledge the wonders of double cream in frosting for a second? It transforms the most basic frosting into the most luscious fluffiest frosting around, so you better believe I’ve added extra to this recipe. You are welcome.
Makes one 6-inch, 4 layer cake | recipe by passionate baker
for the cake:
- 225g plain flour
- 1tsp baking soda
- 1/2tsp baking powder
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2tsp ground cardamom
- 200g granulated sugar
- 130g melted salted butter, cooled
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 75ml creme fraiche
- 185g grated pears, peeled & drained (about 4 conference pears firmly packed into a 1-cup measure)
for the frosting:
- 225g salted butter
- 90g icing sugar
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- 3 tbsp double cream
for the chocolate drip:
- 3tbsp double cream
- 1tbsp butter
- 1tbsp cocoa powder
- 35g dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 ½ tbsp double cream
- Preheat the oven to 175°C; grease & flour two 6-inch cake tins & set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom & the sugar. Whisk to combine, then set aside.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together the cooled melted butter, the egg + egg yolk, & the creme fraiche.
- Using a spatula, add the wet ingredients to the dry & fold together until just combined. Add the grated pear into the bowl & stir evenly throughout.
- Evenly divide the batter between the cake tins & bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Leave the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the tins, before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Next, make the frosting. Place the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat & let it melt completely. Continue to cook the butter, swirling the pot frequently (but not stirring), until the milk solids turn light golden brown & it smells nutty, about 5-8 minutes. As soon as it’s ready, pour the butter into a small bowl (scraping all of the browned bits in too!) & leave to chill in the fridge until almost solidified, about 30-40 minutes.
- Transfer the cooled butter to a large mixing bowl & beat until light + fluffy, about 3 minutes. Sift in the icing sugar + cardamom and beat until it’s completely smooth. Beat in the cream until the frosting is fluffy & luscious.
- When the cakes at cooled, cut each in half using a sharp serrated knife to give you four layers. Place the first layer on a cake stand & spread frosting evenly across it. Repeat with the remaining layers. Spread the remaining frosting all over the cake & keep in the fridge while you make the glaze.
- Now, make the glaze. In a small saucepan placed over a medium heat, whisk together the cream, butter & the cocoa powder. When combined/melted/smooth, remove the pan from the heat & stir in the chopped chocolate; whisk until silky smooth. Whisk in the double cream.
- Leave the glaze to cool ever so slightly – it shouldn’t be warm, but it should still be melty enough to pour. Slowly pour the glaze over the cake & use an offset spatula to spread it out/run down the sides of the cake.
- Serve with a big dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!