Pear Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache

A hint of cardamom lends a little heat to this rich buttermilk batter swirled with a fragrant pear spread. Unlike jam, fruit spreads don’t have any added sugar, so they lend a more natural, delicate sweetness to baked goods. If you like your cake extra sweet, though, jam works just as well.

Pear Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache
Makes about 12 servings
  • ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (110 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs (200 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 2¾ cups (344 grams) cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1¾ cups (560 grams) pear spread or jam*
  • ¾ cup (180 grams) whole buttermilk
  • Whipped Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: shaved chocolate (see Note)
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C). Spray a 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan; spray pan again.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom. In a small bowl, whisk together pear spread and buttermilk. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with pear spread mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with an offset spatula.
  4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan. Spread Whipped Chocolate Ganache onto cooled cake. Garnish with shaved chocolate (See Note), if desired.
*We used St. Dalfour Gourmet Pear 100% Fruit Spread, available at specialty food stores or online.

Note: To create shaved chocolate, microwave a block of chocolate in 5-second intervals to soften it slightly. Using a vegetable peeler, thinly shave off pieces of chocolate. We used Callebaut 60.3% Cacao Dark Chocolate.

Whipped Chocolate Ganache
Makes 2½ cups
  • 10.5 ounces (315 grams) 60% cacao chocolate baking bars, chopped
  • 1¼ cups (300 grams) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  1. Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil over medium-low heat. Pour half of hot cream over chocolate; let stand for 30 seconds. Starting in center of bowl, slowly stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Add remaining hot cream, and slowly stir to combine. Add butter and vanilla, stirring until fully incorporated. Let ganache come to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  3. Place ganache in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. With mixer on low speed, beat ganache until it is light in color and thickened. (If ganache texture starts to look granular, you’ve overwhipped.) Use immediately.


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