An Eye Catching, Single-Layered Chocolate Olive Oil Cake filled with Warm Spices, Citrus and Spiced Whole Pears!
Pears. The funny-shaped cousin to apples that never seem get nearly as much attention yet, encompasses all of the same great qualities to its counterpart. Depending on the type of pear, some thrive better sliced with savory cheese, or flavors are enhanced when grilled, poached or baked in warm spices, or simply eaten just as is.
Now that pears are in season and approaching its peak in December, I’ve decided to dabble with them just as I have in my past during this time of year. You can find other pear recipes I’ve created such as this tart and buttery raspberry pear crumble and my all-time favorite with this buttery glazed praline pear bread with toasted pecans, which by the way, will leave a lasting impression!
For today, I’ve decided to stick with anjou pears, as it’s what I had on hand, but keep in mind bosc or bartlett pears give just as much great taste and texture as the anjou and may even look better when the cake is sliced given that the bosc and bartlett have more of a prominent neck to its shape.
I’ve also decided to bring an olive oil cake on board for the first time on URBAN BAKES. Usually my cakes are butter-filled or use vegetable oil. I must admit, olive oil is certainly unique in flavor and may be more appreciated with an acquired taste. Nevertheless, the chocolate and warm spices surrounding the pears was surely enjoyed. And with the addition of the citrus flavor from navel oranges, this only added more depth to the spiced flavoring of the cake.
To achieve more of a WOW factor when presenting this cake, remember to shop for pears with a pronounced neck and long stem. The stems are the focal points to the loaf cake which create curiosity on what’s inside. Then of course, once sliced, the pears’ shape can be easily recognized and appreciated.
Furthermore, to give a subtle dramatic appeal, when inserting pears into the batter, alternate the stems direction; the stem of one pear faces right whereas, the next pear’s stem faces to the left.
And there you have an eye-catching, single layered cake that is easy to make and enjoyed with a nice hot cup of coffee or in my case, green or black tea.Print
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons agave
- 1 tablespoon natural orange juice
- 1 teaspoon ground Cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 medium Bosc or Bartlett pears, peeled, leave stems intact
- 1 2/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, separated
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, separated
- 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground Cardamom, separated
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 ounces neufchatel cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons agave
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 teaspoon ground Cardamom
- 1 teaspoon of grated orange peel (optional)
- In a large saucepan over high heat, stir water, agave, orange juice, cardamom and ginger together; bring to a boil. Add pears and reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes or until pears are tender. Remove from heat and set pears aside until cool to touch.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9×5 baking pan with aluminum foil leaving excess foil overhang the length of 2 opposing sides for easy removal. Generously spray coat the bottom and sides of aluminum foil with baking spray with flour; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk 1 ⅔ cups flour, brown sugar, ⅓ cup cocoa, orange peel, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cardamom, baking soda and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk egg, buttermilk and olive oil until just combined. Mix into the flour-mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour batter into prepared baking pan; set aside.
- In a small shallow bowl, mix 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon cocoa and ¼ teaspoon cardamom. Roll cooled pears into flour mixture to coat. Insert coated pears in a straight line center of the batter with its stem upright.
- Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake (not pear) comes out clean. Remove from heat and allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing from baking pan and onto a cooling rack for further cooling.
- Meanwhile, in large bowl, using an electric mixer, mix all frosting ingredients together (neufchatel cheese, heavy cream, agave, orange juice and cardamom) until smooth.
- Drizzle or spread citrus frosting over the chocolate portions of the cake. Sprinkle with orange peel.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes