Chasing Delicious | Spiced Chocolate Caramel Pear Cake
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Spice Chocolate Caramel Cake with Baked Pears from Chasing Delicious

Spiced Chocolate Caramel Pear Cake

I can’t say Texas has the most idyllic seasons – you’d be hard pressed to find someone venturing down here to witness the effects of fall – but to me I can read the days like a book. Each small change, no matter how subtle or nuanced, reminds me of a quarter century worth of autumns I’ve spend in Texas. And the days – days seemingly teasing and tantalizing – leading up to one of the most cozy seasons Texas can offer each hold their own surprises and wonderment the days before somehow hid.

While my city lacks the contagious yellow, red, orange and brown hues that float from one patch of forrest to another, and though few of us are bundling up in sweaters just yet, it’s still fall. Mornings are just a bit more brisk than usual. The early hours of each day seem to hold on to the damp, chilly fog a bit longer and the distant sounds of a city winding down get quieter and quieter. Soon the racket of near by lawn equipment, early morning swim meets, mid afternoon joggers and the general hustle of traffic and people from one corner of town to the next will disappear.

And the birds. Like springtime, fall in this Southern state becomes a cacophony of cluttered calls as passing birds begin to compete with year-long residents. I know it wont be long before the grackles swarm tediously manicured lawns like locusts on a corn field. They seem to come each year around the same time as Halloween decorations begin dotting homes and stores.

Soon the mild chill will be replaced with bone-ticking cold and still green leaves traded for bare branches. But before that happens there are months of apple pies, pear tarts, pumpkin cookies and other warm treats to look forward too. There are mugs of hot cocoa, cinnamon dusted everything and soups for weeks on end. And there’s caramel.

There will be contemplations of a ski-filled weekend, a snowy retreat, mornings spent hiding under layers of blankets. Fireplaces will roar, heaters will buzz and old coats will take their place front and center in the closet again. But not yet. For now there’s fall.

Pairing chocolate with pear is one of my favorite dessert combinations. The delicate sweetness of the pear seems to mellow the bold, rich flavors in the chocolate. This cake, as you probably have noticed, is also ver light in its use of frosting. The sweetness in the caramel and pears does more than enough to match the strong chocolate cake – more frosting and I fear this cake would become cloy. While this recipe has three different elements (four if you include the baked pears) each part is quite simple. In fact, everything can be done while the cake is baking or cooling, so this recipe doesn’t end up taking any extra time.

Chocolate Cake: Chocolate cake is one of those weird baked items that doesn’t really follow all the traditional rules. This recipe is my classic chocolate cake recipe and to tell you the truth, I don’t think you’ll ever find another recipe for chocolate cake on this blog, as this one is perfect. The only difference here is I’ve called for a little cinnamon to warm the cake up.

This recipe calls for baking the cakes in 6 x 2 inch round pans – giving you four layers or two small (but not too small) cakes. If you wish, you can keep the amounts the same in this recipe and instead bake it in two 8 x 3 inch round cake pans for a more traditionally sized cake.

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Spiced Chocolate Caramel Cake with Baked Pears n

y 2, 6″ layer cakes
d Easy

t 2 hours

o Tools:

2 or 4, 6″ round cake pans
Parchment paper
Large Bowls
Fine mesh sieve
Spoon

Piping bag (optional)
Large round piping tip (optional)
Icing spatula (optional)

Torch (optional)

i Ingredients:

8 ounces flour
1 pound sugar
3 ounces cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup freshly brewed coffee, hot

4 pears
4 ounces pecans

1 cup fortified caramel (recipe below)

2 cups spiced buttercream frosting (recipe below)

n Instructions:

1.Preheat an oven to 350°F. Prepare the cake pans by buttering the bottom and sides, lining the bottom with parchment paper and buttering the paper. Set aside.

2. Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda & salt). Set aside.

3. In another bowl, beat the eggs for about a minute until broken a part.

4. Add the cream, sour cream and melted butter to the eggs. Mix until blended well.

5. Pour the egg, cream and butter mixture into the dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix until the mixture is completely blended and homogeneous.

6. Add the vanilla. Then add the hot coffee to the batter in small additions, mixing well after each addition. Mix in until the batter homogenous.

7. If you are using four pans, evenly distribute the batter into the prepared cake pans. If you are using two, evenly distribute half of the batter between the two pans – you will need to repeat step 6 and 7 with the remaining half of the batter. The batter left to rest may not rise as much as the batter baked aright away.

8. Place the cake pans on a baking sheet. Add the pears to the baking sheet. Bake everything in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out just barely clean (a few straggling crumbs is ok). The pears should be soft to the touch – they may need to bake longer than the cake.

9. While the cakes are baking, prepare the fortified caramel and the buttercream frosting according to the instructions. Set both aside.

8. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting them.

10. Place one layer on a cake stand or plate. Using a piping bag with a large circle tip pipe large circles of frosting around the top of the cake – so when you press the second layer on top it will give a daisy appearance. You may also use an icing spatula to spread the frosting on top. Place the second layer on top.

11. Decorate each cake.

Below are decorating instructions: 

For a caramel drizzled top – Place a whole baked pear on top of the cake, in the center. Sprinkle pecans around the pear. Spoon the caramel over the pear and pecans, letting it pool and drizzle down the sides of the cake.

For a pear spiral top – Place a whole baked pear on top of the cake, in the center. Cut another baked pear into 1/4″ wedges. Arrange the wedges in a fanned spiral around the whole pear. Sprinkle pecans on top.

For a caramelized pear accentCut a baked or unbaked pear in half. Sprinkle sugar on top of the cut portion. Using a torch, or the broiler of your oven, caramelize the sugar like you would on a creme brulee. Let the sugar harden for about 30 seconds before working with the pear. This should only be done right before serving as the juices in the pear will cause the caramelized sugar to  liquify after about 30 minutes.

r  Store in an airtight container at room temperature. This cake should last 3 to 4 days though it is best served the same day.
n Avoid adjusting the ingredients in this recipe.

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Buttercream Frosting: This frosting is the typical, easy-breezy buttercream variety. You throw everything in a bowl and beat until it is creamy. It doesn’t get much easier than this. Here a little cinnamon and cardamom is added to give the frosting a bite.

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Spiced Buttercream Frosting n

y 2 cups frosting
d Easy

t 5 minutes

o Tools:

Stand mixer with a paddle attachment

i Ingredients:

4 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
2 tbls cream

n Instructions:

1. Add all of the ingredients to the bowl. Beat until everything is combined and the frosting is light and frothy.

r  Store in an airtight container at room temperature. The frosting should last 3 to 4 days.
n Avoid adjusting the ingredients in this recipe.

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Fortified Caramel: Any caramel that has cream and butter added is called a fortified caramel. It is probably my favorite kitchen concoction as the creaminess and butteriness paired with the delightfully carmalized sugar is a match made in heaven.

Making fortified caramel is exactly like making classic caramel, but with fortified caramel you add cream and butter (and possible other flavorings) at the end. Be sure to stand at the stove and watch the boiling sugar closely.  As soon as it reaches a golden amber – or caramel – color, remove it from the heat. Sugar can go from caramel to burnt blackjack in a matter of a minute and once caramel is over cooked it is ruined  – you will have to start from scratch if that happens.

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Fortified Caramel nt

y 2 cups caramel
d Easy/Intermediate

t 30 minutes

o Tools:

Heavy-bottomed pot
Candy thermometer
Wooden spoon

i Ingredients:

1 pound sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 ounces unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

n Instructions:

1. Add the sugar, water, lemon juice and corn syrup into the heavy-bottom pot and place over high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is homogeneous.

2. Watching the thermometer and color carefully, boil the mixture until it becomes a golden amber color, or reaches about 325°F. This will take about 10 to 20 minutes. Do not stir during this time.

3. Once the caramel has reached the appropriate color (careful not to let it continue cooking too long) remove from the heat. Carefully pour the cream into the pot while stirring vigorously. STAND BACK as you do this as the caramel and cream could pop and explode upwards.

4. If the mixture is lumpy, place the caramel back over the heat, stirring constantly until the lumps have dissolved.

5. Off of the heat add the butter and cinnamon. Stir until the butter is completely dissolved.

6. Let the caramel cool.

r Store in an airtight container in the fridge. The caramel should last up to a week.
n Avoid adjusting the ingredients in this recipe.
t Pay attention to the temperature while making the caramel.
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Enjoy!

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AUTHOR - Russell van Kraayenburg

Founder of Chasing Delicious, and author of Haute Dogs, Russell's works have been featured in Southern Living, Men's Fitness, Redbook, TRADHome, and Real Simple magazines and on various sites including Lifehacker, Fast Co., Business Insider, The Kitchn, Live Originally, Quipsologies, Explore, and Fine Cooking. Follow Russell on Twitter @rvank and Instagram. Get more delicious @chasedelicious.

59 Comments

0
  • bianca @ sweet dreaming

    this is quite possibly the most beautiful thing i have ever seen

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    Absolutely stunning! Almost too gorgeous to eat – but I think I’d find the chocolate, caramel, and pear tempting enough to dig in.

  • Molly @ Toffee Bits and Chocolate Chips

    What a beautiful cake and ain’t that the truth about Texas seasons! Fall is one of my absolute favorites- not too cold/not too hot! And you can’t beat the crazy Texas weather swings- 55 today and 80 tomorrow! yay!

  • Riley

    This is such a beautiful cake, especially the layered pears on top! It looks delicious and I can’t get over that spiced buttercream. Can’t wait to try it out!

  • TidyMom

    why do I never think of chocolate with pear? I bet it’s a fabulous combination!

    oh, and I was in Texas over the weekend, and it was shockingly chilly…..make that COLD! but I bet it’s back in the 80’s this week!

    Gorgeous photos Russell!

  • Anna

    This sounds amazing! Love that is uses coffee. Feel like it would also be good with some hazelnuts thrown into the mix.

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog

    This is one stunning cake, and the flavors throughout the layers sound wonderful. As always, your photography is gorgeous. You have me wanting to take my fork and scoop up some of that buttercream.

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks

    Stunning cake! The flavors, the caramel, the pear! The photography – I want to dive in and have a big piece!

  • Shaina

    I say again, “Hello, gorgeous.” I have a weak spot when it comes to any sort of caramel, and caramel with pears atop a chocolate cake has ruined me. I spent the evening waiting for this to appear from the sky.

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Looks awesome, Russell!

    It still sounds like you have your own kind of change of seasons… not quite as dramatic as ours, but still noticeable.

  • Fork and Whisk

    Looks very good. Just to let you know, I made that gingerbread spice cake last Friday night for a work function. It was a hit. People loved it. Thanks for sharing. Love your site.

  • Lisa | With Style and Grace

    you make the most gorgeous desserts! okay, and cocktails.

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    You have everything delicious going on here — spices, chocolate, caramel and pear. Oh yum :)

  • Jee | Oh, How Civilized

    This. Is. Amazing.

  • thelittleloaf

    You’ve absolutely excelled yourself with this recipe – it looks divine. I also have to try that chocolate cake on its own – if you say it’s the only one you’ll ever make then I need to taste it!

  • shelly (cookies and cups)

    This cake looks like perfection! I grew up in Texas, so I am fully aware that fall means an entirely different thing than nit does here in the Northeast, but that wouldn’t stop me from cranking my AC low, putting on a sweater and eating a slice of this cake!

  • Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    wow! yes please! Amazing looking! Have a great day!

  • Sommer@ASpicyPerspective

    Russell, favor……. will you make my birthday cake???

  • Abby@ Totes Delish

    This is one of the most gorgeous desserts I’ve ever seen!

  • Carolyn

    Wow, Russell, that cake is astonishing. It reminds me of a melted candle…just beautiful.

  • Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  • Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies

    Holy heck, Russell, that is absolutely stunning! Pear and chocolate is a combination that I haven’t really explored, but this makes me want to try it. Immediately!

  • Reem | Simply Reem

    OK here is the thing…
    I love your writing, always always read your post, I mean it.. But today I just couldn’t and i”ll blame it on you.. This cake is gorgeous!! and seriously I just kept looking on the pictures….
    I love pears and this is what I need to make.. Really beautiful Russell!!

  • Jon

    You’re a thief Russell, give me back my cold weather. There really is a problem when California is hotter than Satan’s bedroom and Texas is cold as ice.

    Looks incredible. I’m obsessed with everything about this. I love pear desserts and can’t wait to try this when you bring some over. Hint hint ;)

  • Becs @ Lay the table

    This looks absolutely stunning!

  • Tricia @ Saving room for dessert

    This looks absolutely amazing. You are an artist!

  • Tuesday Things. | How Sweet It Is

    […] I’ve been having a major freakout over this cake since last night. Ugh. So gorgeous! So delicious! So chocolatey. I gotta make it […]

  • Brooks at Cakewalker

    This is one glorious cake Russell, from start to finish. I love the kick of cinnamon in the cake and again with cardamom in the frosting, but what’s more are the optional choices you present in the captivating photos. Like Texas, Sac has brought a nip to morning air. Enjoy the season!

  • Suzanne @ flourarrangements

    Wow, this is so beautiful. I love the combination of pear and chocolate, too.

  • Jeanette

    Oh my – what a stunning cake Russell – you’ve outdone yourself! Love the chocolate pear combination.

  • Jennifer @ Delicieux

    Oh my Russell, you have outdone yourself with this cake. Seriously, it’s AMAZING!!! I want one of these all to myself as it has all of my favourite flavours in one divine cake.

  • Amy @ fragrantvanillacake

    This cake is stunning! Not only that, I love the combination of flavors you have here. Pears, chocolate AND caramel…oh my! I love that it is a 6 inch cake as well, I always make smaller cakes myself. As always your photography is so beautiful!

  • Tuesday Things. | Lifestyle Pins

    […] I’ve been having a major freakout over this cake since last night. Ugh. So gorgeous! So delicious! So chocolatey. I gotta make it […]

  • Valerie

    This cake is almost too exquisite to devour, but it’s so irresistible that it would be a shame not to enjoy…slice after glorious slice. (Is it normal to have a crush on a cake?)

    There are not enough recipes that are written for 6-inch cake pans and my math skills are too fickle for recipe reductions. Thank you! :)

  • Adriana @ FoodCocktail

    Wow, this cake looks absolutely mind-blowing! I’m not a big fan of pears, but with all that chocolate who could resist?

  • Caramel et Fleur de Sel

    This cake is a piece of art! beautiful!

  • Kathryn

    Such a stunner of a cake!

  • Tina @ More Please Recipes

    Thank you for the tips on cooking caramel. I have definitely had mine turn to burnt blackjack!

  • Denise

    Not only does this cake look absolutely gorgeous, but the description makes me drool too. I really wanna try this soon!

  • Mia

    This looks AMAZING! Being from the very bottom edge of Arizona, I can relate to the “less-than-idyllic” seasons. However, the seasons are obviously there. Hot days and nights? Summer. Warm to hot days with cool nights? Fall or spring. The quality of light changes as the earth, on its tilted axis, leans toward or away from the sun. You get the idea. Late spring in AZ always reminds me of the summer I got my first car – I can feel the warm but not too hot breeze as I cruise my neighborhood. Ahhh…the memories!

    Thanks for the recipe :)

  • Spiced Chocolate Caramel Pear Cake

    […] Instructions: 1.Preheat an oven to 350°F. Prepare the cake pans by buttering the bottom and sides, lining the bottom with parchment paper and buttering the paper. Set aside. 2. Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda & salt). Set aside. 3. In another bowl, beat the eggs for about a minute until broken a part. 4. Add the cream, sour cream and melted butter to the eggs. Mix until blended well. 5. Pour the egg, cream and butter mixture into the dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix until the mixture is completely blended and homogeneous. 6. Add the vanilla. Then add the hot coffee to the batter in small additions, mixing well after each addition. Mix in until the batter homogenous. 7. If you are using four pans, evenly distribute the batter into the prepared cake pans. If you are using two, evenly distribute half of the batter between the two pans – you will need to repeat step 6 and 7 with the remaining half of the batter. The batter left to rest may not rise as much as the batter baked aright away. 8. Place the cake pans on a baking sheet. Add the pears to the baking sheet. Bake everything in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out just barely clean (a few straggling crumbs is ok). The pears should be soft to the touch – they may need to bake longer than the cake. 9. While the cakes are baking, prepare the fortified caramel and the buttercream frosting according to the instructions. Set both aside. 8. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting them. 10. Place one layer on a cake stand or plate. Using a piping bag with a large circle tip pipe large circles of frosting around the top of the cake – so when you press the second layer on top it will give a daisy appearance. You may also use an icing spatula to spread the frosting on top. Place the second layer on top. 11. Decorate each cake. Below are decorating instructions: For a caramel drizzled top – Place a whole baked pear on top of the cake, in the center. Sprinkle pecans around the pear. Spoon the caramel over the pear and pecans, letting it pool and drizzle down the sides of the cake. For a pear spiral top – Place a whole baked pear on top of the cake, in the center. Cut another baked pear into 1/4″ wedges. Arrange the wedges in a fanned spiral around the whole pear. Sprinkle pecans on top. For a caramelized pear accent – Cut a baked or unbaked pear in half. Sprinkle sugar on top of the cut portion. Using a torch, or the broiler of your oven, caramelize the sugar like you would on a creme brulee. Let the sugar harden for about 30 seconds before working with the pear. This should only be done right before serving as the juices in the pear will cause the caramelized sugar to liquify after about 30 minutes. r Store in an airtight container at room temperature. This cake should last 3 to 4 days though it is best served the same day. Source: Found Online Link: See Original Recipe […]

  • carrian

    I’ve been watching this float around the web, but I’ve been resisting looking because I knew I’d want it. Yup, I was right. You have one fantabulous site here. Truth. ;)

  • Jacqueline @How to be a Gourmand

    Oh Lord above, that is one beautiful creation. Great presentation and bet it tastes divine!

  • Elizabeth Nyland

    So so very gorgeous! I looooove the photography. And of course, I wish I could dive head first into that cake!

  • Amy @ Two True Foodies

    That cake is a piece of art…so impressive. I just stumbled on your blog and love it. Thanks for sharing. I’ll be back!

  • Miriam/El invitado de invierno

    Thanks Russell for stopping by my blog, so that I could get to know yours. Pretty lovely site you have here… ;)

  • Miguel

    Gracias a tu visita en mi blog he podido conocerte y me he quedado con la boca abierta…mucha calidad en tus recetas y en la fotografía, sin duda no pienso perderte de vista…..felicidades por tu trabajo.
    Besos
    Miguel
    lareposteriademiguel.com

  • kristy @ the wicked noodle

    This is an absolutely stunning cake! What a presentation! And the photos are gorgeous, too. Really wonderful.

  • Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats

    This is wicked and looks really delicious. Pears and chocolate are such a great combo together. Have a good weekend ahead and hopefully you will be able to getmore rest. cheers Jo

  • Diane (createdbydiane)

    Oh I really want a piece of that cake it is GORGEOUS!

  • Lisa

    This cake is a work of art – love all the caramel, chocolate and baked pears! I want to frame it and hang it in my kitchen, AFTER i eat it ;)

  • thyme (Sarah)

    Wow!! So is that what you are bringing us for dessert next week for our get together?? Hmmmmm Russell?

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    Goodness you’ve outdone yourself on this one, a real beauty!

  • Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)

    This looks amazing! And I’m glad to say that I think I have most of the equipment on hand to tackle it. So glad to have discovered your blog through a link on How Sweet Eats!

  • kita

    I know it’s wrong to really only comment on the picture, but damn. You made those pears look smexy.

  • Suzanne

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. When I saw your comment earlier, I instantly thought of this delicious pear cake — I made last week for my husband’s birthday. It turned out great, and I LOVED roasting the pears whole! So easy and delicious. I’m enjoying your recipes and your writing so much.

  • Apple-Cinnamon Rolls

    […] Adapted from Chasing Delicious. […]

  • Alana

    AMAZING styling! You’ve got that rustic feel I love so much down pat.

  • Apple-Cinnamon Rolls

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