I have been intrepid, intrepid, in my search for the perfect autumn cake. By which I mean I’ve eaten a lot of cake. I think this one might be it though. It makes judicious use of the perfectly ripe pears that are knocking around at the moment, is dense with hazelnuts and speckled through with dark chocolate.
The recipe comes from a Good Food 101 Cakes and Bakes. Start off by grinding 100g of hazelnuts to a relatively fine texture in a food processor. These smell amazing.Add 140g of self-raising flour and whiz together. Then add 175g of butter (or baking margarine), 140g of caster sugar and 2 eggs and mix again till it all comes together. Peel and chop two pears. The recipe specifies small pears but we had whoppers and two of them worked perfectly. Roughly chop 50g of dark chocolate as well and then stir the fruit and chocolate into the cake mixture.
Grease and line a 8in cake tin and pour the mixture in. Heat the oven to 160°C. Peel and slice at least one more pear (depending on their size you might need more), then artfully arrange over the top of the cake to cover it. Press down slightly into the mixture and then cook for an hour (check how its doing after 50 minutes).
Once the cake’s done, turn it out onto a rack to cool. Warm 2tbps of apricot jam and then brush over the top to get a shiny, rather classy finish. This’ll help the cake to keep as well, although it’s brilliant warm.