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Double Chocolate And Pear Cakes

Double Chocolate And Pear Cakes

When I look out the window, it is hard to imagine that Fall officially starts tomorrow. We have two seasons here more or less, Warm and Hot. Christmas celebrated in a summer dress, well, "it ain’t fittin'. It jes' ain’t fittin'" But there are signs that cannot be mistaken. Night falls earlier, the wind has finally picked up, the pecans are weighing the tree branches down. The light is now giving cold blue undertones, I put the diffuser back up in the studio, my shooting schedule has changed. Most importantly, the oven is buzzing with tarts, custards and cakes like these Double Chocolate And Pear Cakes, a gluten free adaptation of my mother’s recipe.

I like spontaneity as much as I like certain family rituals. One that my folks have back home is to get together for tea time everyday around four or five o’clock. Even now that my grandmother is gone, my mother makes the same one yard walk to my grandfather’s and continues the tradition. One of my fondest memories is always this moment shared around their dining room table right when it is getting darker outside and we cozy up around a slice of cake and a hot cup of tea and chat.

Getting Ready For Fall

As a kid, I’d sit quietly and listen to a mix of conversations ranging from politics and literature to the more basic questions of what to cook for the next family get together. As a teenager I started taking part by bringing treats of my own like madeleines and langues de chats. As an adult, every time I go home, I just sit quietly and listen, literally captivated by every word they say, every event or family member they talk about. I try to encapsulate those precious moments for the long strips of time I spent away from them.

Comes Fall when my "cozying-it-up" starts to kick in, I make this cake every weekend so that we can have tea and cake like they do back home. I have no idea where my mom got the original recipe, I just found several copies of it in different recipe tins around the house. I love it for the simple reason that you can make it your own with the flavor that you like. October might be cardamom and pistachios, November might give way to almond and vanilla while December might see some colorful candied fruits. Right now it’s pears and chocolate.

After successfully adapting a chocolate tart recipe earlier this month to a gluten version, I thought my favorite cake would be next to become gluten free. The cake was not difficult to adapt using different flours and eggs and butter are there to help ingredients bind and raise properly. I mean, it’s hard to mess things up when there are eggs and butter. I added cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate to the batter and topped each cake with slices of ripe pears. I knew the flours could lend a different, sandy texture to the finished cakes so I slightly underbaked them so they’d remain moist for a couple of days.

Double Chocolate And Pear Cakes

I purposely left out any kind of spice this time but I am thinking cardamom for the next cup of tea. I also want to try adapting this gorgeous Olive Oil Cake by Connie and these cute Nutella pound cakes by Dana. I can tell Fall is here…

Double Chocolate And Pear Cakes

Double Chocolate And Pear Cakes:

Makes five 3-inch cakes (I used these liners) or one loaf cake.

1 stick (113gr)unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
3 eggs
2 oz (60gr) semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1/4 cup (60ml) buttermilk
1/3 cup (60gr) sweet rice flour
1/3 cup (60gr) sorghum flour (you could use amaranth or quinoa)
OR 1 cup (125gr) all purpose flour instead, if not going gluten free
3 tablespoons (15gr) cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 pear, ripe, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the center. Grease cupcake liners or a loaf pan and place them on a baking sheet. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, scarping the sides of the bowl in between each addition. Add the melted chocolate and beat until smooth. Add the buttermilk and beat, still on low, until incorporated. Add the flours, cocoa and baking powders and beat for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and beat for a minute. Pour the mixture into your prepared pan(s) and place the slices of pears on top. Bake for 30-40 minutes for a loaf, 20-25 minutes for individual cakes. Check at the earliest baking time indicated as each oven runs differently and you want to keep the cake(s) moist inside.

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Rachael Hutchings September 21, 2009 um 6:01 pm

Wow, Autumn already? I feel like Summer just started! Pears and chocolate sound like a perfect combination to welcome in the new season.

Colloquial Cook September 21, 2009 um 6:04 pm

Yey! Fall! Pears! Chocolate!
[ok, sheer enthusiasm is as coherent as it gets so far]
[I'll be back with something more articulate]

The Bella Girls September 21, 2009 um 6:14 pm

WOW! As always, these look divine. For some reason they are making me crave peanut butter cups (totally random).


tami September 21, 2009 um 6:14 pm

Helen these looks DIVINE! One of my favorite flavor combos for cakes…and my sweetie's fave, too! I shared this link with a friend who is always looking for gluten free recipes 🙂

Edd September 21, 2009 um 6:19 pm

Autumn definitely feels like its arrived and I love it love the flavours of the season and normally pretty too

Cheri September 21, 2009 um 6:31 pm

I am loving the warm tones in these photos. They do feel so much like fall. The browns are absolutely exquisite.

Anonymous September 21, 2009 um 6:32 pm

Lovely, truly lovely. The image of a teenage girl happily sharing a moment with her elders, enjoying the connection.
You brought a tear to my eye.
my daughters and I will have to make these, just for that moment.

pigpigscorner September 21, 2009 um 6:39 pm

Nice stack! Time really flies, felt like I only had a month of Summer.

Dominique September 21, 2009 um 6:50 pm

Wowww! cela se dit de la même façon dans toutes les langues. Une fois de plus je dévore ton billet (à défaut de dévorer ces gâteaux!), mais promis, j'essaierai!

veron September 21, 2009 um 6:50 pm

I have yet to try out different flours. Chocolate and pear sounds heavenly! Heh, I already baked my first apple pie for the fall, couldn't wait for its official start either.

Anonymous September 21, 2009 um 6:52 pm

If I don't want it gluten free, can I use wheat flour?

Irina@PastryPal September 21, 2009 um 7:15 pm

The shape of pastry is evolving. Seems like everyone on the web is going gluten-free. If this is the new wave, count me in. Amazing how you can make something in a paper wrapper look so luxurious.

The Duo Dishes September 21, 2009 um 7:22 pm

Loving the fall, even though it's still pretty hot here in LA still. No matter, working with apples and pears will be so fun. This looks delicious!

cindy* September 21, 2009 um 7:36 pm

i love fall 😉 the cakes look wonderful!

El September 21, 2009 um 7:48 pm

How can you not love anything called 'double chocolate'!

Cathy/ShowFoodChef September 21, 2009 um 7:52 pm

Gorgeous pics, and these look scrumptious. Love the idea of stretching into new territory, too.

Madison Mayberry September 21, 2009 um 7:54 pm

I can't tell you how much I enjoy each and every one of your posts. They are not only beautiful recipes, but the stories that go along with them are heartwarming and divine! Thank you for helping me welcome in autumn.

maybelle's mom September 21, 2009 um 8:01 pm

i love the idea of tea and cake with the family. it is about spending time together enjoying each other.

Helene September 21, 2009 um 8:10 pm

Anonymous: yes you can. I don't know about 100% whole wheat but the cake works great with 1 cup all purpose flour instead. I added that in the recipe since you asked. Thanks!

Irina: gluten free does help a lot with my symptoms of Mesniere's disease. I just wish gf flours were cheaper for everyone.

A. Jarrett September 21, 2009 um 8:11 pm

This looks delicious! I love the fall colors!

Bron September 21, 2009 um 8:28 pm

Gorgeous gorgeousness! Pear and chocolate are just perfect together. I am enjoying collecting more ideas containing gluten free flours. Although I'm not GF myself I think we all have at least one friend who is and I agree it's always fun to extend your repertoire and best of all they're all very tasty and delicious, honestly now and then I quite often prefer the GF over wheat.

Anonymous September 21, 2009 um 8:30 pm

Bravo et encore bravo pour ces magnifiques desserts, ces belles photos,et ces chaleureux commentaires. Je t'aime. Mam

Simones Kitchen September 21, 2009 um 8:43 pm

It's amazing how it all of a sudden feels like fall too… Light changes and before you know it… it is here! I love fall and your gorgeous cakes are a perfect fall treat!

lesfifoles September 21, 2009 um 9:19 pm

MMMMH! Ca sent beau…

A bientôt. Anne

Char September 21, 2009 um 9:25 pm

beautiful shots – love those pears

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) September 21, 2009 um 9:33 pm

Perfect timing, as the pears on our trees are just ready to pick!

Connie September 21, 2009 um 9:46 pm

Those tarts look absolutely delectable, and a perfect way to enjoy autumn and ease into winter. I appreciate reading these gluten-free recipes, they are so helpful and important as I seem to encounter more and more folks who live on this diet. And best of all, your food looks irresistable!

Nada September 21, 2009 um 10:28 pm

Wonderful!!..My breath stopped!

Joanna September 21, 2009 um 10:58 pm

These look great!

Renee September 21, 2009 um 11:01 pm

Mmm, delicious.
The photo of the pears in the bowl is fantastic.

Unknown September 21, 2009 um 11:20 pm

I love how you talk about cozying-it-up…conjures up such pleasant thoughts! These just look amazingly yummy!!

🙂 T

Erika September 21, 2009 um 11:21 pm

Hello Helen!These little cakes look fantastic. I want to know how can I make my own buttermilk. Here in my country we can´t buy that. Maybe with yogurt or ricota?

the Italian Dish September 21, 2009 um 11:26 pm

Gee, chocolate, pears. . . your incredible photos once again. I love it all, dear.

Engineer Baker September 22, 2009 um 12:14 am

Chocolate, pears, tea, cardamom… Yep, definitely fall. It's my favorite season (because in the Midwest, we actually have fall 😛 ). I'm loving all the GF treats floating around – I should use more of my random GF flours on things like this!

gfs September 22, 2009 um 12:47 am

These little cakes look delish and I love the liners (thanks for the link). Also, I'm loving the Gluten Free recipes. I've never cooked with pears but always wanted to, so this recipe is earmarked (along with your entire site!) for future reference.

Love the photos, as always.

Alexandra September 22, 2009 um 1:58 am

Fantastic combo!
The cool blue mornings are my favorite times of the day, during the 'dark' periods.
I especially love the photos of the teaspoon outline and the curly vines!
I have also wondered about how to offset the blue undertones…thru thru trial and error and ended up with unflattering results…what do you suggest?

Dana September 22, 2009 um 2:10 am

Thank you so much for the shout-out! These little cakes are dreamy. I don't know if I have ever had pear and chocolate together. It's time, obviously.

kamran siddiqi September 22, 2009 um 2:46 am

Did I ever mention how lucky your husband is to have a wife like you?! You are just amazing! If I am even half as lucky to find a woman like you to marry, I'd be the happiest person ever. As Always, your photos are beautiful (esp. that pear photo).

And this cake! Oh, there aren't enough words to describe how yummalicious they look! I will have to give it a try 😀

Nutmeg Nanny September 22, 2009 um 2:50 am

Beautiful and delicious looking!

Jennifer September 22, 2009 um 2:54 am

I always feel like I am in a little dream coming to your blog, your photos are so heavenly!! Wonderful tribute to Autumn and your Grandmothers cake! It looks and sounds amazing!!

Divina Pe September 22, 2009 um 3:24 am

The different ingredients and flavors are just comforting. As always, gorgeous and stunning photos.

Vanille September 22, 2009 um 3:54 am

Oh, ces petits cakes me font presque regretter l'automne !

shaz September 22, 2009 um 3:55 am

That shot of the four pears is so beautiful it makes my throat ache. Thanks for sharing such fantastic photos and recipes.

Helene September 22, 2009 um 5:21 am

Alexandra: I usually go about a couple of ways: I set my white balance manually with a piece of white paper (each camera does it differently so check your manual for custom white balance). I also place a large thin sheet over the main light sources. I usually use bedding sheets that we don't use but any piece that will cover the light source will diffuse the blue undertones. Sometimes I like them, most times I don't 🙂
Hope that helps!

Kamran: you are too funny!

Shaz: wow, thank you so much 🙂

Thank you everyone for your nice comments!

Cakelaw September 22, 2009 um 5:24 am

Beautiful cakes – and devine photos of the pears.

Jackie September 22, 2009 um 5:26 am

That cake looks incredible, as do all your recipes. It makes me wish I was more of a baker.

Finla September 22, 2009 um 7:12 am

Looks so cute and beautiful and delish.

Parita September 22, 2009 um 8:55 am

Pears and chocolate sounds a delicious combination, gorgeous pictures!

linda September 22, 2009 um 10:56 am

dear tartlette!
i have a huge smile right now because…
#1 your posts are fabulous
#2 your photography is amazing
#3 your stories touch an emotional chord
#4 i love chocolate & pears
#5 i just purchased muffin top papers
& now know what to do with them


Erika September 22, 2009 um 11:02 am

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

VeganPower September 22, 2009 um 11:48 am

OMG very nice pictures and very apatazing !
WAOUW ! Great job !

I like your job !

Anna September 22, 2009 um 12:07 pm

This makes me want to get all the pears out of the tree on the other side of the road and eat them all!


Amy J in SC September 22, 2009 um 12:55 pm

These look so yummy.

Now that you've got the gluten free version worked out how about a low-cal version next?

♥peachkins♥ September 22, 2009 um 2:05 pm

I love how you put FALL into your photos..

Alina September 22, 2009 um 2:44 pm

Mmm… I feel a special passion for autumn, it's my favourite season! The cakes sound delicious and the photos are tasteful! But I think five cakes is just nothing, I would bake at least 10 at a time :)))

James September 22, 2009 um 3:10 pm

Mmm, I wonder, this could make a great traybake.

annie September 22, 2009 um 3:56 pm

Although sweets are off our menu for a while, I loved this post for it's lyrical evocation of fall in words and pictures, and (most especially) of your family's afternoon tea. I'll be back, whether I can actually use the recipes or not, because you write so beautifully.

Parisbreakfasts September 22, 2009 um 5:58 pm

totally LUSCIOUS!!!
must remember to stop shouting…ahem

deb@accessoryalamode September 22, 2009 um 8:02 pm

I just found your blog and your tarts look soo yummy!

Monkis September 22, 2009 um 8:52 pm

Mmmmm… looks lovely!! And the photos are really nice

Carolyn September 22, 2009 um 9:58 pm

Hello Helen!

Recently Desserts Mag went premium! I can no longer view your macaron guide 🙁 Can you post it up somewhere

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking September 22, 2009 um 10:27 pm

I've never tried the pear and chocolate combination, but it looks lovely and I can't wait to do so!

Anita September 23, 2009 um 1:15 am

These look absolutely gorgeous. Love the colours too – very Autumn. I am in Spring at the moment and lovely our flowers 🙂

Southern Grace Gourmet September 23, 2009 um 4:12 am

These look so delicious, and your photos are beyond amazing, great recipe!

Mrs Ergül September 23, 2009 um 4:49 am

After looking at all these photos, I started craving for chocolate cakes again!

Helene September 23, 2009 um 5:19 am

Carolyn: no plan for a repost just yet. I want to rework it and add more tips and references. In the meantime, send me an email.

Thank you so much for being here when I preparing fun stuff to do and talk about! Stay tuned!

Alexandra September 23, 2009 um 5:33 am

Thank you! I will give it a shot…no pun intended! 🙂

Unknown September 23, 2009 um 1:59 pm

These are so pretty! I bet they must taste amazing too!! I wish I had this!

I would use 1 cup all purpose instead of the 2 other flours right?

Helene September 23, 2009 um 3:34 pm

Avanika: correct.

Anonymous September 23, 2009 um 5:15 pm

If experimenting and wish to try to substitute buttermilk, or soured milk in a gluten-free recipe that calls for regular milk, it is suggested that you will need to add baking soda to the recipe if it doesn't call for any. Add the baking soda to the dry ingredients and mix well. Do not add it to the soured milk (some recipes may call for it to be added to the milk) as it will cause the leaven quality in the baking soda to be lost in the milk and not the batter/dough.

Use 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda for 1/2 cup of milk. This proportion seems to work well for gluten-free recipe conversions.

Helene September 23, 2009 um 5:41 pm

Anonymous: I have read that too but I never remember and I have never had a problem with cakes rising. It is worth trying out though.

Helene September 23, 2009 um 5:41 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.

Unknown September 23, 2009 um 7:42 pm

My husband and I always have a nice treat with a glass of wine every night. (I left the wine review site I use attached to my name, just click it). We will be making this tomorrow night for sure! Looks delectable!!


Angela September 23, 2009 um 11:26 pm

I love an usual twist with chocolate. It's hot here too (nashville) and I so want to get into fall foods. But, I also want to go swimming!

Lauren September 24, 2009 um 2:22 am

So cute! I'm loving all of these gluten free recipes as of late =D. Thanks for the great recipes and inspiration!

Jen Yu September 24, 2009 um 5:53 am

If it were not for you, I would still be too chicken to try baking anything gluten-free. Gathering my courage… I only hope that whatever I make will look half as lovely as the stuff you crank out. I think you need a REAL challenge… Make a pastry using only water – ha ha ha ha!!! 😉 I know you could do that too. xxoo

rabbit's cookbook September 24, 2009 um 6:39 am

The pear slices are so lovely;)
Pear and chocolate cakes are my favourite!

Anonymous September 24, 2009 um 12:46 pm

These look so decadent! Love the pear and choc combination mmmm and gathering together and just chilling on a cool night with cake sounds awesome!

Goldie September 24, 2009 um 4:04 pm

You make such beautiful food…do you stare at it for a long time before you eat it? I would!

Astrid September 24, 2009 um 4:52 pm

Those first two photos are master pieces! They took my breath away. Oh and the cakes look good too!

Unknown September 25, 2009 um 12:39 am

You truly have some of the most innovative recipes.. absolutely beautiful photography and composition. I really admire your work!

Ash September 25, 2009 um 6:48 pm

Oh I just love these!! They look amazing!

Y September 27, 2009 um 3:39 am

Beautiful photos, Helen! Especially those pears. Makes me wish it was Autumn all year round.

pastry studio October 5, 2009 um 4:08 am

What pretty cakes. Your photo of pears makes my heart melt. Such great memories you have!

The Hans October 7, 2009 um 7:24 pm

This is such a lovely blog!! Everything looks exquisite!! Beautiful photos!!

Rachel Medanic November 20, 2009 um 6:26 pm

Hi Tartelette,

I made this recipe- yummy but question about the texture. I used amaranth grains and they are VERY small. I put them through my spice grinder (really just a coffee grinder) but wasn't able to get them to more of powder texture. So there were little amaranth grains in the cake. Is there a way to improve that at all?

Helene November 20, 2009 um 7:27 pm

Rachel: sifting comes to mind.

Natalie December 5, 2009 um 9:33 pm

I just made this recipe – it's now my favourite GF cake recipe. Amazing!

Irina March 14, 2010 um 5:36 pm

I adore your work, your recipes, your photos!

I want to make that cake but I have a couple of questions and i would be very thankful if you have time to answer me.

1/ Can I use quinoa and amaranth flour instead of sweet rice flour and sorghum flour, and would the quality be the same?

2/ I want to make the cake in a loaf tin. What size should it be? I have 4 x 12 inch. Should I double the recipe or it's okey to do it that way?

Thanks in advance! Best wishes!

Unknown March 31, 2010 um 9:22 am

hello, what can i used instead of buttermilk since i can't find it?. thank you.

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