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Spiced Red Wine Pear & Chocolate Cake P

Deliciously impressive and easy to make red wine spiced poached pear and chocolate cake. Stunning deep ruby whole pears popping out of a moist and boozy chocolate cake…fall and winter baking at its very best!

Hands are holding up the spiced red wine pear and chocolate cake with a piece of it taken out. Can see what the cake looks like inside. Cake is on a round black slate and background is black.

We often cook with wine, using it to deglaze a pan or enhance the flavor of a stew or sauce. But how about baking sweets with it?!?! I first tried doing so when I made this Red Wine Chocolate Snack Cake. And I became an instant let’s-add-wine-to-my-desserts convert!

I’ve tweaked the recipe, added some seasonal fall flair in the form of whole poached pears, spiced up the wine, and simplified the ganache. The result is this deliciously complex and slightly boozy Spiced Red Wine, Pear, & Chocolate Cake.

Spiced red wine pear and chocolate cake tablescape. The cake is cut into, with a piece served on a plate, with other plates, utensils and the rest of the cake in the frame, on a black background.

Why this Recipe Works

  • Poaching the pears pre-baking them in the cake ensure that they’re don’t dry out and are scrumptiously tender by the time the cake is all done.
  • Using Bosc pears for poaching ensures that they hold their shape and don’t become mushy when poached.
  • The spice infused wine adds an unexpected spicy and fruity note that brightens the chocolate batter.
  • Adding spiced wine to the ganache adds an additional complex layer of kick to cake.

I enjoy sipping on spiced red wine (also called mulled wine) throughout the late fall and winter. There’s something quite medicinal about spices simmered in red wine and it really warms the body from the inside out.

What is Chocolate Ganache?

Fret not if you think Chocolate Ganache sounds fancy or difficult to make. Cause it’s really simple and only requires two ingredients: chocolate & heavy whipping cream. That’s it. Heat the cream on the stovetop and pour the warm cream over the chocolate, let it sit for 2-3 min, give it a good whisk, and voila, the ganache is made.

How to Poach Pears

  • Carefully peel whole pears, leaving stems intact, and place in the simmering spiced wine (or another liquid of your choice).
  • Be sure to start with firm, ripe pears. My go-to favorite choice for poaching are Bosc pears since they keep their shape so nicely. Avoid soft pears, like Comice or Bartlett, as they’ll fall apart during poaching.
  • It’s a great trick to cut a bit off the bottom of each pear so that they can stand up easily in the liquid (and then later in the batter).
  • If the liquid doesn’t completely cover the pears, be sure to turn them every so often while they’re simmering, to ensure even coloring and thorough cooking.

Whole peeled pears are poached in this spiced red wine, turning them a marvelous deep ruby color.

Spiced red wine poached pears in chocolate cake batter, in cake pan, pre oven.

Get playful and feel free to customize the spices that you use!

 

How to Make this Spiced Red Wine Pear & Chocolate Cake

  • Poach pears (see above for more detail)
  • The batter easily and quickly comes together with two bowls and a whisk.
  • Pour batter into springform pan and nestle pears, bottom side down, in batter in pan and bake.
  • Make chocolate ganache (see above for more detail)
  • Let cake cool then brush with chocolate ganache.
  • Sip any leftover spiced red wine and marvel at the beauty of the cake ya just made.

Spiced red wine poached pears in chocolate cake batter, in springform pan, post oven. Overhead shot, on black background, cake is center of frame and can see all of it.

Cooks Tips

  • Be sure to cut a bit off the bottom of each pear so that they easily stand up in both the poaching liquid and batter.
  • Choose Bosc (or similar pairs) that won’t turn to mush when poached.
  • If you own a springform pan, now is the time to use it.

Spiced red wine poached pears in chocolate cake batter, post oven and out of springform pan. Side angle , 45 degree shot, right side of cake is cut off, on a black background.

Can we please talk about how fabulously fun it looks to cut into a cake a see a whole pear in there?!?!

Spiced red wine poached pears in chocolate cake batter, out of cake pan, post oven, topped with ganache and flaky sea salt. Side angle shot. Cake is cut into and can see a full pear sliced, on black background, and left side of cake is cut off.

Hope it’s as exciting for you as it is for me! And it makes the cake seem a tad bit healthier, right?! After all, we’re eating a nice amount of fruit in addition to all that chocolate and red wine (and butter and sugar…).

It’s the cake you never knew about that your holiday table had been missing!

Spiced red wine poached pears in chocolate cake batter, out of cake pan, post oven, topped with ganache and flaky sea salt. Over head shot, on black background, cake is center of frame and can see all of it.

Have ya tried this recipe? I’d love to hear about it and see it too! Please leave a comment below and take a pic and tag it on Instagram with #chefdanielagerson. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more colorfully delicious food and all sorts of awesome adventures!

Spiced red wine poached pears in chocolate cake batter, out of cake pan, post oven, topped with ganache and flaky sea salt. Side angle shot, on a black background, left side if cut off.

I suggest ya make some extra spiced red wine while you’re at it. So let’s get cooking and…Let’s make waves in the kitchen!

Spiced red wine poached pears in chocolate cake batter, out of cake pan, post oven, topped with ganache and flaky sea salt. Side angle shot. Cake is cut into and can see a full pear sliced, on black background, and left side of cake is cut off.

Print Recipe

4.8 from 5 votes

Spiced Red Wine Pear & Chocolate Cake

Deliciously impressive and easy to make red wine spiced poached pear and chocolate cake. Stunning deep ruby whole pears popping out of a moist and boozy chocolate cake…fall and winter baking at its very best!
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Californian
Servings:
Author: Daniela Gerson

Ingredients

For the Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

  • 2.5 cups dry red wine such as cabernet or merlot
  • 8 Bosc pears
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 long strips orange peel
  • 1 orange juiced
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cardamom pods

For the Cake

  • 1/2 cupunsalted butter melted, plus a bit
more for greasing
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1 cup spiced red wine
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 4 ounces semisweet, bittersweet or dark chocolate chips  about 2/3 cups
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons spiced red wine

Instructions

  • To make the spiced red wine poached pears, bring all the ingredients (except for the pears) to a boil in a large saucepan and let simmer while you peal the pears.
  • While poaching liquid is simmering, peel pears, leaving the stem in tact. Slice a thin cut from the bottom to create a flat surface so the pears can easily stand.
  • Gently place the pears in the simmering poaching liquid and poach for 30 min, turning every 5 min or so, to ensure even color. Then allow to cool slightly while you prepare the cake.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter.
  • Whisk together flour, cocoa powder baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together sugar, egg and melted butter in a large bowl until pale.
  • Gently remove the pears from the poaching liquid and set aside.
  • Strain the red wine and add 1 cup of it to the butter mixture (set the rest aside to be used in the ganache), whisk to combine. Whisk in vanilla and flour mixture until all combined.
  • Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth top then place the pears bottom side down in the batter.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45-50 min. Let cake cool.
  • To make the ganache, place chocolate into a bowl. Warm up the cream and wine in a small saucepan on the stove until simmering. Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate and let it sit for a min. Stir to combine.
  • Brush ganache on top of cake, letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, and let stand until ganache is set, about 30 minutes. Any leftover ganache can be served along side the cake. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Be sure to cut a bit off the bottom of each pear so that they easily stand up in both the poaching liquid and batter.
  • Choose Bosc (or similar pairs) that won’t turn to mush when poached.
  • If you own a springform pan, now is the time to use it.