Chocolate & Pear Chai Spiced Cake

Hi my favourite bakers! So even though im going through an intense diet regime, it was my husbands granny’s 92nd birthday this weekend, and I juts HAD to bake a cake that was both beautiful as she is and as scrumptious as ever! I love being super creative and love painting, so I had seen some posts recently about these candied pears, that you paint. And I thought, lets see if I can do a watercolour wash on them.. but that was the decoration, then I had to create an entire cake based on that design! And thats when my mind went bananas.. Im using pears on the outside so it HAD to have pears on the inside! but pears dont have such a strong taste, so how do I enhance it, i thought.. and for some reason or another, I thought of Chai! Chai spice is basically cardamon, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavour… so I decide to soak the pears in a sugar syrup with all those spices, and create a four layers intense chocolate cake, with chai spice butter cream and some caramel drizzle to each layer as well as the chai soaked pears! … and OMG.. was it amazing or what! Like Mind Blown.. Mic Drop.. literally everything you can think of.. not only did it look amazing, but it tasted out of this world! Super proud of this one guys, and trust me , as most of my bakes are.. this one is easy to bake as well… the Painting of the pears takes a bit, but thats mainly the wait.. 😉 I honestly think this one is a show piece worth having at ANY party! 😉

Here’s how you make it!

INGREDIENTS:

Cake :

  • Unsalted butter, for the pans (ive used 4 pans at 8″ size square pansfor my cake, but you can use two pans and slice them in half)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetend cocoa powder
  • 5 cups all purpose flour 
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, just add 2 tbsp of lemon juice into your milk and let it set for five min before using as buttermilk) 
  • 1 cup plus 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract  

Chai Spice Swiss Meringue Buttercream :

  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 1-1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature And Cut Into Tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon  pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch Fine Sea Salt

Chai Spiced Poached Pears :

  • 4 Pears, pealed & chopped into small cubes
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardemmon
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar

Caramel Drizzle Sauce :

  •  50g unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Decorative Pears (Optional) : 

  • 6 Pears
  • Food colour gels, in colours of your choice ( I used yellow, pink, orange, purple and mahogany)
  • Paint brush
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar

METHOD:  

Cake Layers :

  1. Preheat oven to 175 C (350F), with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 4 baking pans with baking paper and butter them lightly (alternatively if you dont have four pans, you can use one and rotate it after each one, or you can bake it in 2 pans and slice them in half) I have used square 8″ pans, but ofcourse you can use a round cake pan aswell! 🙂
  2. Sift together chilli, cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer. Return bowl to mixer. Fit mixer with the paddle attachment. Add eggs, yolk, water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Mix on low speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  3. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans lined with parchment paper or baking sheet (if you are baking them in two pans, evenly distribute the batter and then once baked, let them cool completely (VERY IMPORTANT!) and then slice them length wise half way). Bake until a cake tester inserted into centre comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Let cool in the cake pan before assembling.

Chai Spice Swiss Meringue Buttercream : 

  1. Place egg whites and sugar in a metal bowl of a stand mixer. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water, not touching the water. Whisk or stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to approximately 70ºC. If you don’t have a thermometer, then just keep checking that the sugar should be completely dissolved when rubbed between two fingers. Just be cautious that it will be hot to the touch.
  2. Immediately place the bowl on the stand mixer (make sure to dry the bottom, so no more heat gets onto the bowl, and whip on high using the whisk attachment until frosting has become thick and glossy, forming a stiff peak. Continue to whip frosting until the bowl feels room temperature to the touch, a total of about 20 minutes.
  3. Switch the whisk attachment to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, drop in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. If frosting appears curdled or clumpy at any time, increase speed to medium-high and beat until smooth.
  4. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, mix in vanilla extract, spices, and pinch of salt. If needed, continue beating until smooth. Once smooth, add in a few droplets of your  food colouring (optional) and mix on slow speed until your desired colour is achieved.

Chai Spiced Poached Pears :  

  1. In a medium sized saucepan, pour in the sugar, water and all spices. Heat on medium heat until the sugar completely dissolved stirring it now and then.
  2. Once dissolved add in your cut pears, and let them soak int here for about 10 minutes, until the pears are completely softened.
  3. Take them out of the sauce pan and drain the pears and let them stand in a bowl until ready to be used at room temperature.

Caramel Drizzle Sauce :  

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together butter, brown sugar, heavy whipping cream, and salt on medium heat.
  2. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for about 5-6 minutes, whisking occasionally.
  3. Whisk in vanilla (be careful, it will bubble up, but dont worry, if you keep whisking it’ll calm down pretty fast) and cook 2-3 more minutes.
  4. Cool your caramel until your able to touch it with your finger, and then pour it into a jar, and refrigerate until cold.

Decorative Pears (Optional) :

  1. Slice the pears from top to bottom, half ways, so you get a nice long slice. The thinner you slice them the faster they will bake and the more the colours will come out.
  2. Then in a small sauce pan, pour the sugar and water , and heat at medium heat until the sugar in completely dissolved.
  3. Then place all the pears into the sugar syrup and let them soak. Take them out and oat them dry with a tea towel.
  4. On a baking tray lined with a baking sheet, place all your pear slices (I had two baking trays) and then on a separate plate plop a drop or two of each colour.
  5. Take your paint brush and paint your pear as you wish! I started with yellow and then kept going until I reached the darkest colour 🙂
  6. Then dry them out in the oven, set at 100 C degrees for about 2 hours. Some might not have dried out completely but dont worry, once they are out the will continue the drying process. This would be best if you made them the day before so they have enough time to soak in the colours. The colours may come out brighter depending on what kind of gel food colour you used.

Assembly :  

  1. Take one cake layer, pipe the buttercream, place a hand full of the poached pears, drizzle some caramel sauce over (roughly 2 tablespoons) and then place the next layer on top and repeat until you reach the final layer.
  2. Once all your layers are done, you should pace it in the fridge for about 1/2 hour, and then cover the cake with your buttercream. Once youve done that, then place your decorative pears on the side in rows of three, starting from the top (optional, you can ofcourse decorate however you want!) 🙂

And Enjoy!

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