There are two things that you may not believe about this vegan chocolate cake with poached pears recipe at first glance. The first is that it’s totally plant based (it is). Second is that it will NOT have you slaving away in the kitchen for hours (it won’t).
If you can mix together wet ingredients and dry ingredients (just like making any other cake) then you can make this red wine poached pear cake.
I got the idea for this cake from an Australian cooking competition. The competitors, a duo, were preparing a three course Italian-themed meal and they presented a non-vegan version of this chocolate and red wine pear cake for their dessert.
One of the teammates, an Italian, said that this cake comes from northern Italy and is a traditional family recipe that his mother taught him how to make.
Unfortunately, the team was eliminated from the competition that night (but not because the cake was terrible). Fortunately, the network posted his recipe online and it’s here.
So my task became how to veganize the chocolate and red wine pear cake. Not a problem.
You don’t need six eggs to make a cake rise. Remember the baking soda and vinegar volcanoes you used to make in elementary school?
Same deal in a vegan chocolate cake except controlled in a way that doesn’t make it spill out over you pan and onto the floor for your mom to clean up.
Any kind of plant milk and a bit of oil add moisture. Then it’s just a question of adding the spices, poached pears and chocolate sauce of the original recipe! Easy, see?
You need to be careful about your choice of pear for this cake. You’ll want to choose the absolute smallest pears you can find for two reasons.
First, they need to fit in your pan. Secondly, bigger pears could release too much juice into your cake causing the top to over bake and burn before the bottom has finished baking. Unfortunately I learned that the hard way.
For my second attempt at this cake I found that Spanish Ercolini pears were just the right size and worked wonderfully. If you can’t get a hold of them, just use the absolute smallest pear you can find.
Interested in other Italian recipes to serve with this vegan chocolate cake with poached pears? Check out my index of Italian recipes.
Adapted from: https://au.tv.yahoo.com/my-kitchen-rules/recipe/31157221/chocolate-and-red-wine-pear-cake/#page1
- 1 bottle of red wine (certified vegan)
- 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
- 10 whole cloves
- 6 cardamom pods
- 2 sticks of cinnamon
- 5 star anise
- The zest and juice of 1 orange
- 5 small pears, peeled
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- A pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup plant milk, divided
- 35 grams (1.25 oz) dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider or white vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- The zest of two oranges
- 1 cup plant milk
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) dark chocolate
- Combine everything except the pears in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the pears and simmer, partially covered, for 20 – 30 minutes or until the pears are tender. Remove the pears and set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line an 18 cm (7 inch) spring form pan with parchment/baking paper.
- Combine all the dry ingredients (first seven) in a bowl and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, warm the plant milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Add the chocolate and stir to melt. You may need to pop it back into the microwave for 10 second intervals until the chocolate is totally melted. Add in all the remaining wet cake ingredients and mix well.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
- Pour the batter into your lined spring form pan. Place the pears into the batter.
- Bake for 32 minutes. After this time, the top of the cake will likely be baked. Stick a skewer into the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean, the cake is done on the bottom. If it isn’t done, cover the top with tin foil to prevent it from burning and repeat the skewer test every five minutes. My cake took about 45 minutes in total to bake through.
- Allow the cake to cool before removing the pan and slicing.
- Combine the plant milk and chocolate in a small pan a warm over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is melted.
- Cut the cake so that you’re cutting the pears in half and each slice has half a pear on each side. Sprinkle with icing sugar and drizzle over some chocolate sauce. Strain the pear poaching wine and warm it to serve alongside as mulled wine.