A couple of days ago, I was driving down the road and I screeched. Loudly. I scared everyone riding with me, but I couldn’t help myself. There, right off the road was a tree, bright orange. It was surrounded by trees holding on to summer, their leaves still bright green. It was a beautiful sight, that firey hue on a backdrop of lively green.
As I hopped out of the car to take pictures, any lingering thoughts of summer were wiped from my mind. Autumn is here and I’m embracing it.
It’s not particularly hard for me to be enthusiastic about fall, it’s my very favorite season. All year I long for these days of warm cups of tea, cheeks flushed from the cool wind, and cinnamon scented everything. I crave hearty root vegetable soups, bread fresh from the oven after a long summer of salads and lighter fare. Most of all, I love the baking. Apples, pears & pumpkins, hello!
This is the first thing I’ve baked since the season change, and it’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever had.
About a year ago I tried an almond & pear chocolate bar and since then I’ve wanted to make something with that flavor combination. I added a touch of cardamom, because I love it with pear, and a cider glaze, because it just sounded good. There’s a lot going on here, but it works. It tastes like fall.
Pear & Almond Chocolate Cake with Cider Glaze
The glaze here isn't going to get very thick, but I like it that way. When you pour it over your cake, it will sink right in instead of laying on top like one thickened with lots of powdered sugar. It'll keep the cake very moist and extra tasty.
For the cake:
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (packed) brown sugar,
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 pears, diced
1/2 cup slivered almonds
For the glaze:
1 cup pear cider
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or cardamom
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously brush 12- to 15-cup nonstick Bundt pan with oil. Whisk 1 cup boiling water, cocoa powder, in 2-cup glass measure. Whisk 2 cups flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat 2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup vegetable oil, and 1 tablespoon vanilla in large bowl to blend. Add eggs; beat to blend. Beat mixture until smooth, about 30 seconds longer. Beat in half of flour mixture, then cocoa mixture. Add remaining flour mixture; beat to blend. Fold pears & almonds. Transfer batter to prepared Bundt or angel food pan.
Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool the cake 10 minutes. Invert cake onto rack; cool 15 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, stir together cider, brown sugar, butter & cinnamon in a small sauce pan. Bring to boil, continuing for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
When cake is cool, pour over glaze & top with powdered sugar.