Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Sunday, 2 November 2014

I Love November For...

... Pears

Now is the time when my Concorde pears reach their peak of perfection on the allotment. This variety has better storage properties than most, so we rarely have a problem with too many ripe pears at the same time.

This year is proving to be an exception to the rule as the tree blossomed at exactly the right time during a spell of exceptionally warm weather. This ensured every single bloom was visited by a bee and thus turned to fruit. The tree may be small, but I have over 100 pears and around a month in which to eat them with the juice running down my arms.

So I've devised a variation on my 'Windfall Cake' to soak up some of the abundance. I liked the idea of chocolate and almonds to complement the flavour of the pear and developed a recipe along those lines. It's still a work in progress - the balance of the pear and chocolate flavours with the sugar is right, but there is no hint of almond. A little almond essence is called for methinks.

It's still delicious as it is though, served neat or with a dollop of Greek natural yoghurt to help it go down. Serves 8-12 slices, depending on how greedy you are.

Pear, chocolate and almond cake


4 oz softened butter + a little extra for greasing
4 oz golden granulated sugar
2 large eggs
4 oz self raising flour
4 oz ground almonds
2 oz good quality chocolate pieces (I prefer plain)
4 small ripe pears, peeled cored and chopped into small pieces (best done at the last minute when adding to the cake mixture)

For those of you using metric measures, use 110g for the 4oz ingredients and 55g for the chocolate pieces.


  1. Preheat the oven to 170oC (fan assisted oven), 190oC (electric oven) or gas mark 5
  2. Grease a deep 8 inch (20cm) springform round cake tin with a little butter - there is no need to line the tin with baking parchment if it's greased well
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy
  4. Shell the eggs , add them to the bowl and mix well
  5. Gradually add the flour and ground almonds - don't be too alarmed if the mixture is a little on the dry side at this point, the pears will add some moisture
  6. Add the chocolate pieces and the chopped pear; mix together well - the mixture should form a soft dropping consistency
  7. Scoop out the mixture into the cake tin, ensuring it's evenly spread
  8. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out cleanly when the centre of the cake is pierced - non fan assisted ovens may take a little longer
  9. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out the cake onto a cooling rack
  10. Slice and serve when fully cooled

Note that the cake won't rise that much owing to the ground almonds. It didn't spoil my enjoyment of the result and the cake had a nice, moist crumb without a heavy consistency. Therefore I'm not going to experiment with the addition of baking powder in the future.

I've just realised it's my blog's 7th birthday today. What better way to celebrate than baking a cake?


  1. It sounds delicious, I love cakes with ground almonds in. And cakes with chocolate in come to that. I've got an apple and chocolate loaf that I make quite often. My pears were all pollinated this year too, it was by far the best harvest since they were planted six years ago. We're enjoying huge Beurre Hardy pears at the moment, they're wonderful.

    1. I'm amazed at the bountiful crop this year CJ. Our trees are about the same age - Buerre Hardy pears are delicious when you get them at the right moment when you can't avoid having juice run everywhere :)

  2. Ohhhh YUM!! I've been missing my baking whilst my kitchens being redone, THIS will be my first baking project once it's finished, it looks utterly delicious! And a happy bloggy birthday!

    1. OOOOOH! Let me know how you get on and any variations you tried :)

  3. Happy blog birthday Michelle! And yes that cake looks and sounds perfect to celebrate the occasion :) when I saw that bowl of pears I thought yum! Then I saw the cake and that's it, I'm heading out to get some cake (but will have to settle for a non pear one...).

    1. What did you get - I remember your very large strawberry tarts for my Chelsea Fringe project last year!

  4. Happy 7th birthday - that is quite an achievement ! What a lovely cake to celebrate it with too.

  5. Oh many, many congratulations on your seventh blog anniversary VP! It looks the perfect celebration cake. I will try to remember that recipe next year when I might have some surplus pears. My first three ever fruits went mushy last month whilst still on the tree so I will have to be more vigilant next year.

    1. Here's hoping you have enough pears to try this one out next year Anna.

  6. Happy Blog Birthday! Well done.

  7. Sounds like a perfect combo. I've had to buy my pears, although we have had some late and unexpected figs from the tree in our garden.

    Congrats on reaching 7!

    1. I got caught out by unexpected figs too Colleen. I went out to sweep up their leaves last week, to find that some of the figs which I thought I'd have to rub off this winter had ripened and become my second crop for this year :o

  8. Happy birthday to your blog! And thank you for the recipe - I can actually eat all the ingredients, which is very unusual, so I shall pass that on to R, who is the cake-maker in this house.

    1. Oh that's really good to hear Juliet! I've been having a conversation with a friend on Facebook about this recipe and her suggestion to replace the flour with a gluten-free version might also be a possibility for you?

  9. Congratulations on your blogaversary, VP! Your pears look delicious and the cake even more so.


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