Valentines Day never really bothered me while single and doesn’t really make me over the moon while in a relationship.
It’s nice and all but I don’t really care all that much, perhaps it’s due to me also working in hospitality for the past 20,000 years but I’ve been desensitised from public holidays which is sad but on a plus side, I bloody love Mondays!!
If I were off on Valentines night, I probably wouldn’t go out to dinner/cinema etc. I don’t really like spending time with hundreds of other couples trying to compete for the cutest. This cake is something I made for our staying in pre valentines night, and I thought it worked out quite well, it’s not the most beautiful cake in the world but it tasted damn good…kinda like love.
Enjoy your Valentines Day whichever way you choose to spend it.
*After pealing and slicing the pears, weigh them. As the whole pear will weigh a good bit more. I found I got 400g of pears from around 6 whole pears. So just bear this in mind when buying or weighing the right amount*
This cake makes about 10/12 slices, and is adapted from the Dutch magazine Foodies
400g Pears (pealed and sliced)
250ml White Wine
2 Cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
200g butter (room temperature) + plus extra for greasing
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla sugar (or approx 1 tsp vanilla extract)
4 free range eggs
200g self rising flour
2 tbsp cocoa
100g dark chocolate
Icing sugar to decorate
Place the sliced pears in a pan with the white wine, cinnamon, star anise, the lemon and 100g of the sugar. If the wine is not covering the pears add in some water until they are. Cook on a low heat with the lid on, and let them bubble for about 30-40mins.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F) and grease a 24cm springform round tin, then lightly dust with flour. When the pears are done, spoon them out and place them on some kitchen towelling. Keep the pan of left ingredients till later.
Mix the butter, 200g sugar, vanilla sugar, and salt in a stand mixer until pale and creamy. With the mixer still on add in the eggs one at a time until the previous is mixed in, this avoids the whole mixture splitting. Sieve in the flour and cocoa, and stir gently until all of it comes together, don’t overmix. Pour the mixture into the cake tin.
Chop the chocolate into chunks, and sprinkle into the batter along with the pears. I blended this slightly into the dough so they were balanced rather than beating them in. Pop into the oven and bake for 50-55mins.
Leave the cake to rest for about 15mins before taking out of the tin and serving. While you are waiting you can return to the pan of white wine and spices. I reduced this down to a syrup but this is optional. I felt it added a great spicy/zestyness to the cake but its completely optional. Take the lemon, star anise and cinnamon out of the pan and bring it to a simmer and reduce down until it becomes thicker. If it becomes too thick add a little water, not enough add a little sugar.
Drizzle this over the cake, and viola. This cake is best served on the day while the chocolate is still soft and melted…but it can also be great the day after when fully chilled.