Sunday, February 13, 2011

Five and Spice: Yogurt Cake with Pear and Dark Chocolate

I plan on trying this cake this week because we went through the vanilla almond cake with chocolate sauce too quickly. Winter is tough and you have to have frequent desserts. This recipe seems like heaven. You have to go to the original post by Five and Spice because there is so much interesting historical and cooking information. You can click this link or the photo to get to the post. Five and Spice has graciously given me permission to post this recipe. Thank you!

Yogurt cake is a wonderfully simple, traditional French afternoon snack cake. It’s part of the reason why I love the French. IT is similar to a pound cake, but the heaviness of the butter is traded for the freshness and mild tang of yogurt. A bit of oil stirred in at the end gives the cake a golden slightly crackly top crust without weighing down the tender crumb. The most traditional version is flavored with just some lemon or other citrus, but a yogurt cake is really a canvas to which you can add all sorts of berries, fruits, or other goodies. Thinking of another classic French dessert, poires belle Helene (which I grew up calling paere bel Helene, and thinking it was a Norwegian dessert), I filled my cake with bites of soft juicy pear, and bittersweet dark chocolate. The result was a wonderful dance of flavors, subtle but certainly not shy. A warm slice of the cake makes a decadent treat on its own. But add a dollop of softly whipped vanilla-scented whipped cream and you’ll find yourself with an ethereal dessert that demands being savored with your eyes closed.

(makes one 8-inch loaf)

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (whole milk yogurt, not low fat)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 large pear, ripe but still firm, cored and cut into small pieces (leave the skin on)
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet (dark) chocolate chunks (good quality, please)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and grease an 8 inch loaf pan with butter. In a small bowl combine all the dry ingredients (flour through salt). In medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Then, stir in the dry ingredients, a bit at a time, until well blended. Finally, use a rubber scraper to fold the oil into the batter until it is fully incorporated.
  2. Pour about one-third of the batter into the greased loaf pan. Sprinkle 2/3s of the pear pieces and the chocolate chunks all over the batter. Then, scrape the rest of the batter on top of this and gently spread it smooth. Sprinkle the rest of the pear and chocolate over the top of the loaf and gently press all the pieces down into the batter to partially submerge them.
  3. Bake in the middle of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean – 55-60 minutes or so. Then, take the cake out of the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Carefully turn the cake out of the pan, and then put it upright on a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The cake will keep for several days (refrigerate if it’s more than 2 days), and slices are delicious lightly toasted before eating. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

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