When I asked my boyfriend what dessert or cake he would like me to bake for his birthday the response I got was anything with chocolate and pears. The chocolate was no surprise (he LOVES chocolate) but the pear threw me a little. Chocolate and pear may be a classic, tasty pairing but none of my recipe books seemed to have any recipe ideas. Then a couple of weeks before his birthday I won a copy of 200 cakes and bakes, published by Hamlyn, via a weekly contest by Octopus books on twitter. When the book arrived I was pleased to see a delicious looking, simple to make chocolate, pear and orange squares recipe (a traybake).The cake was indeed simple to make and the end result was delicious. It rose well and was light and moist and the flavours mixed well together.
The rest of the recipes in this little book also look deliciously tempting. To name just a few that appeal to me there is a strawberry macaroon cake, chocolate truffle cake, chocolate and chestnut roulade and triple chocolate pretzels. The book is full of mouthwatering photographs to tempt you and the instructions all seem clear and simple.
Hopefully you will also notice an improvement in my photographs on this entry. I have just bought one of these mini photography studios and have noticed an improvement already. Hopefully once I have more time to play around with it they will get better still. The only disappointment with this purchase is there were no instructions provided what so ever. I noticed that a lot of the pictures I took on a white background had a pinkness to them. If anyone knows what is causing this and how to correct it that would be helpful.
Chocolate, pear and orange squares
175g butter, at room temperature
175g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
125g self-raising flour
75g self-raising wholemeal flour
25g coco powder
grated rind and 2 tbsp juice from 1 orange
4 small conference pears, peeled, halved and cored
sifted icing sugar
1 little grated chocolate
a little grated orange rind
- Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually mix in alternate spoonfuls of beaten egg and flour until all has been added and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the cocoa, orange rind and juice then spoon the mixture into an 18x28cm roasting tin lined with nonstick baking paper and spread the surface level.
- Cut each pear half into long thin slices and fan out slightly but keep together in their original shape. Carefully lift on top of the cake and arrange in 2 rows of 4.
- Bake in a preheated oven, 180C (350F), gas 4 for 30-35 minutes until well risen and the cake springs back when gently pressed with a fingertip.
- Lift out of the tin using the lining paper, cut into 8 pieces and peel off the paper. Dust with icing sugar and sprinkle with grated chocolate and orange zest. Serve warm or cold as it is, or with ice cream or custard. Store in an air tight tin for up to 2 days.