Chocolate And Pear Cakes With Cooked Flour Frosting

chocolatepearcakesthumb.JPGThese chocolate muffins have two surprises in store - inside the moist chocolate cake, there's a nugget of juicy pear, and the cooked flour frosting is amazingly creamy and light.

The Recipe

Ingredients:

For The Cakes:

  • 3 eggs - Weigh them in their shells
  • Self raising flour - same weight as the eggs
  • Caster sugar - same weight as the eggs
  • Soft butter or margarine - same weight as the eggs
  • 2 Heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

For The Filling:

  • 2 or 3 ripe dessert pears

For The Frosting:

  • 175g Caster sugar
  • 225ml milk
  • 40g Plain Flour
  • 225g Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt (omit if the butter is salted)

Method:

chocolatepearcakes2.JPGSelect pears that are ripe, but still fairly firm.

Peel the pears and using a melon baller, cut out twelve pieces (I managed to get twelve out of two decent-sized pears). Trim out any woody bits of core.

If you don't have a melon baller, just cut out some 2cm cubes - the shape doesn't really matter.

chocolatepearcakes3.JPGWeigh the eggs in their shells.

Make a note of this weight, and measure out the same amount of caster sugar, fat and self-raising flour for the cake mix.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

chocolatepearcakes4.JPGPlace all of the ingredients for the cake mix in a large bowl.

Beat together with an electric whisk until blended to a smooth, uniform-textured cake batter.

chocolatepearcakes5.JPGSpoon the mixture into twelve muffin cases, set in a suitable baking tin.

Place one of the pear pieces in the middle of each case and push it down gently, just until it's level with the top surface.

Put the tray in the oven and set a timer for 12 minutes.

chocolatepearcakes6.JPGMeanwhile, start making the frosting - put the flour, sugar and cocoa in a pan, mix together gently with a whisk.

Add the mlk to the pan (NOT the butter or vanilla - those come later).

Heat the pan over a medium heat, whisking constantly, making sure to get into the corners of the pan, to prevent it burning on the bottom.

chocolatepearcakes7.JPGKeep whisking as the mixture approaches the simmering point.

The contents of the pan will thicken into a glossy rich chocolate brown sauce. Remove from the heat and pour immediately into a large glass or ceramic bowl.

At some point in this process, the oven timer will expire and the cakes will need checking (if this happens while you're cooking the first stage of the frosting, take it off the heat while you check the cakes).

When you take the cakes out of the oven, test them by poking one with a toothpick - if it comes out clean, they're done - set them aside to cool. If it comes out sticky, put them back in the oven for a couple more minutes.

chocolatepearcakes8.JPGThe chocolate sauce base for the frosting needs to be cooled before the next stage.

Whisking it for five minutes serves several functions - firstly, circulation greatly speeds the cooling process, nextly, it incorporates a little air, which will contribute to the lightness of the end result, finally, it prevents a skin forming.

Whisk until cool. Standing the bowl in a larger basin of cold water would also help.

chocolatepearcakes9.JPGWhen the sauce base is completely cool, cut the butter into pieces and add it, along with the vanilla extract.

Using an electric whisk on high speed, mix the butter into the sauce base until completely smooth - it will take on a texture similar to whipped cream.

chocolatepearcakes10.JPGCover the frosting mix and place in the fridge until the cakes are completely cool.

If you try to finish the cakes too soon, the butter-based frosting will melt and drip off them.

chocolatepearcakes11.JPGAdd the frosting to the cakes.

For best results, pipe it onto them in a spiral swirl (starting at the edge and working into the middle).

chocolatepearcakes1.JPG

If you don't have a piping bag, spoon a generous blob onto each cake and swirl it around just a little using a fork or the point of a small knife.

Cooked Flour Frosting

The reason I'm calling this 'frosting' (whereas normally, I would say 'icing') is that I didn't devise the recipe for this delicious cake topping - it's all over the internet, and it's difficult to say where it originated (if anyone knows for sure, please post a comment to let us know).

One thing characterises all of the other articles I've seen about this frosting - initial skepticism (which I shared - the idea of flour in a cake topping is weird at first), then unbridled enthusiasm.

And they're right - it's utterly fantastic. This chocolate version is rich, yet velvety and soft - I think the best cake topping I've tasted - certainly the best I've made at home.

OK, at least part of the reason it tastes so good is that it contains an almost obscene amount of butter, but as long as you don't eat all twelve cakes in one sitting, it's probably not too bad.

Weigh The Same Concept

The weigh-the-same formula used here and in many of my other cake recipes makes a good plain sponge cake mix all on its own, or it can be used as the basis for any number of experiments.

Comments

1. On Monday, February 28, 2011, 03:03 by Julie

Did you forget the cocoa in the frosting recipe?

2. On Monday, February 28, 2011, 08:17 by Mike (For Atomic Shrimp)

I did - thanks for picking that up (page corrected)

3. On Monday, February 28, 2011, 19:20 by Carol

Ooh, same balance that we have! Yes, I've seen this 'frosting' recipe all around the internet, and can't really believe it'll be good with that much flour. Can't really justify making it when Himself can't stand creamy things on top of cakes.

4. On Thursday, March 3, 2011, 17:20 by Steve

Looks really good, going to have to try making them;

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