Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pear and Ginger Chocolate Spice Cake

To paraphrase Clint Eastwood (from the 1971 movie "Dirty Harry"),......'You've got to ask yourself one question: do I feel lucky?' That's exactly what  popped into my mind when I decided to deconstruct a molasses spice cake recipe after realizing I didn't have marmalade, one of the main ingredients called for. I did however have fresh pears, crystallized ginger, white chocolate and why not throw in some Dutch dark chocolate cocoa into the mix. Missing from the original recipe was the sugar, which I assumed had been replaced by the sweetness of the marmalade. I really had no choice in this but to take a stab at the amount of sugar to be added to the recipe. Knowing full well that it's foolish to toy with the main ingredients when baking; I quelled any possible trepidation by thinking of the grand dame of cuisine. Even Julia Child had some less than perfect results on her earlier PBS episode.... so why not go for broke?  
Luckily the gamble payed off. The cake turned out moist and almost fudge-like but without being too sweet. The crystallized ginger gave every bite a little zing, complimenting the pears as did the chocolate, which of course marries well with cinnamon. Given all the rich ingredients, a simple dusting of icing sugar was all that was needed to enjoy it. So if you dare give it a try, I would love to hear your comments on how it turns out.

1 1/4  cup all purpose flour (sifted)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried ginger
1/2 cup dark Dutch cocoa
1 cup Bosc pear, peeled and diced
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
1/2 cup white chocolate disks (broken into pieces) or  white chocolate chips
1/4 cup melted butter1 egg
1/2 cup fancy molasses
1/3 cup boiling water

In a mixing bowl sift in the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder. Whisk the ingredients to blend. Toss in the the diced pears, crystallized ginger and white chocolate pieces. Stir with a wooden spoon to coat. In a separate bowl, beat the egg, whisk in the melted butter and 6 tablespoons of water. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until blended. Do not over mix. Pour into a prepared 8" inch pan and bake in a pre-heated 350º F oven for 30-35 minutes. The cake is done when a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.


  1. Spice cakes are so homey and comforting. I love the chrystallized ginger in this one.

  2. This looks great. I am on a real chocolate and ginger kick at the moment so I can't wait to try this.

  3. That's soul food! Looks irresistible.

  4. ginger, chocolate, pears & cinnemon !!! what's more to say !! THE PERFECT MATCH !!

  5. Your additions sound like a hit. That cake sounds as delicious as it looks and spicy to boot. I have a linky party going on at my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link this up.

  6. Perfect combination, can't wait to make it!

  7. Oh my this looks soothing and welcoming. I love additions of crystallized ginger. I never could have deconstructed a spice cake! My hat's off to you - and you may pass me a piece.

  8. haha i like your pre recipe the combinations that go into this cake...def flagging this...

  9. denise @ quickies on the dinner tableJanuary 30, 2011 at 7:49 AM

    Oh goodness!! I love chocolate, pear and ginger separately, but when you put them all in one cake, you gotta know, I'm a goner right? LOL

    This looks really amazing! I can actually see how moist and tender the crumb is! And Bosc pear, no less - my all time favourite variety. A real winner of a dessert :)

  10. oh Anna this looks great, brava!

  11. Hi Anna-What an amazing reconstruction you did on the did not mention the "source" from you adapted it from, but at any rate, I love your creativity with the pears, the cocoa, and the crystallized ginger, which surely gave it a zing...not to mention the yummy, moist, and chocolaty goodness!

  12. This sounds just delicious Anna, and I love that you were able to improvise with what you had on hand. I love the flavor combination can't go wrong with chocolate, pears, and ginger! Thank you for sharing with us today. I hope you have a wonderful week!

  13. That cake looks so moist and sounds so delicious. Pears add so much to desserts.

  14. Wow this looks fabulously scrumptious! The chocolate, molasses and spices are perfect together and husband would go nuts for the ginger and pear. Yum!

  15. I am so impressed by your substitutions...this is some serious last minute adjusting talent :)
    And how beautifully it turned out, wonderful!

  16. I made this cake tonight and it was delicious! Your recipe didn't say when to add the sugar or molasses so I just put them in with the wet ingredients. I used xylitol, a sugar substitute, and semi-sweet chocolate chips (not a white chocolate fan) and it was so good. The molasses isn't overpowering, all the flovors blend really well, but still tastes like a spice cake. The cake was really moist. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  17. I made this and took it into work - compliments all round! It doesn't rise much, instead it's more like a brownie but a very decadent brownie indeed! Will definitely make this again as it was such a hit.