Despite it only being September it feels like winter is setting in with the dark nights and crisp cold days. Although it makes it much harder to get up in the morning it means that it’s acceptable to wear thick scarfs, knitted jumpers and boots again. It is also obligatory to sit by the fire on a Sunday wrapped in a blanket drinking copious cups of tea and eating slices of cakes fresh out the oven.

This cake was meant to use ground hazelnuts but as I’m a poor student I explored the nuts our cupboard already held and settled on ground pecans. They provide the same texture and I used a drop of Disaronno to give a nutty flavour.

The cake has a lovely light texture but the caramelised pears and pecans on top not only provide a crunchy texture but offer a richer caramel flavour, the perfect addition to a cold autumnal day.


The Recipe

85g butter + 1tbsp for caramel
85g golden caster sugar
85g dark chocolate
1 tbsp Disaronno
3 eggs, separated
85g pecans, ground plus handful for the top of the cake
4 ripe pears, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp dark brown sugar

– Grease the base of a 23cm cake tin with greaseproof paper and grease with more butter. Spoon in 1 tbsp caster sugar and dust around the tin shaking off any excess.
– Heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.
– Remove from the heat and stir in the Disaronno.
– Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until light in colour and thick in texture. Fold in the chocolate and ground pecans.
– In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks and then fold into the chocolate mixture.
– Pour into the tin and then add half of the sliced pears on top of the cake.
– Bake for 40 minutes.
– Once cooked let cool.
– In a pan melt the butter.
– Add the pears and pecans and cook for a few minutes.
– Add the sugar and leave till caramelised. Then add to the top of the cake and serve.