Monday was my birthday and I spent the day in an oddly snowy London (for March!) with my two daughters.
When I was little my Mumma would make us this birthday cake every year. In rural England in the 1960’s and ’70’s Vanilla was not obtainable so she flavoured the cream with lemon. In the method I have made a few nods to the way my mum made it, which is what I do when I make it.
It is a super cake. I really hope you like it as much as I do.
Have a great weekend.
Italian Pear & Chocolate Cake
360g / 12 oz butter, at room temperature
360g / 12 oz sugar
360g / 12 oz sifted self-rising flour
250 ml Strong coffee
1 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 350˚F/180˚C/Gas 4.
Grease and line a 29 cm cake tin.
Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift the flour and salt and add together with the coffee and fold until mixed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
Vanilla and Chocolate Pastry Cream
6 egg yolks
2 tbsp plain (AP) flour
2 tbsp cornflour
600ml/40fl oz milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
240g/8 oz plain chocolate
In a large saucepan, beat together the eggs, flours, vanilla and sugar until nicely combined.
Heat the milk in a separate saucepan, bring just to a simmer.
Pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking all the time, then turn the heat on under the pan and whisk to the boil.
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.
Add the chocolate to a small bowl.
Pass the cream through a sieve to remove any eggy pieces or lumps of flour.
Pass half of it directly onto the chocolate. This will encourage it to melt just right.
Give it a good stir to make sure it is all melted.
Give the surface a spray with some bland oil, then cover with a piece of cling film (touching onto the surface) to prevent a skin forming.
Place it somewhere to cool as quickly as possible.
10 pears (poached until tender) or 2 tins of pears.
Amaretto or Limoncello
Slice the Pears into 3 -4 mm slices.
Slice the cake in two.
Sprinkle the base with some of your chosen alcohol (don’t worry if you don’t want to use any, you can add a few spoons of the pear juice)
Spread the base with the vanilla pastry cream.
Cover this layer with the sliced pears.
Add the top layer of sponge.
Spread the top with the chocolate pastry cream.
I like to sieve a spoon of icing sugar and cocoa powder right on top.
Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.
All new customers will get a lovely washable cotton shopper as a ‘Thank you and please come again next week’ (Whie stocks last!)
Every Friday at about 6 pm GMT I publish photos of the items I have cooked for market. Have a look at the Facebook page.