There is, I believe, no better time to be in the kitchen than now. The ingredients of the season – new hazelnuts and walnuts, locally grown pears, apples and pumpkins are calling to be stewed, preserved and baked. I like to bake towards the end of the week to then enjoy a sweet something at the weekend with my coffee.
Fruit in cakes will always be my preference, I’m not a chocolate cake lover however add a few chocolate chunks and nuts to a cake batter and I’m first to the table. This recipe is a firm family favourite. The hazelnuts add a wonderful flavour to this loaf. It’s important to use chocolate with a minimum of 54 percent coco solids. I also favour spelt flour, and often blend white with wholemeal in cakes.
This loaf is a good one, intense and not too sweet, it’s moist without being claggy. It also keeps well for several days, if it lasts that long.
Pear, Hazelnut & Chocolate Loaf
- 2 eggs large
- 180 g butter softened
- 100 g light brown sugar
- 25 g caster sugar
- 95 g hazelnuts skinned, save 15g to chop & sprinkle on top of the loaf
- 160 g white spelt flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3 small conference pears
- 55 g dark chocolate chopped, min. 54%
- Pre-heat the oven to 150Cfan. Line the base of a 900g loaf tin with parchment paper and gease the sides.
- Whisk the butter and sugar together until really light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk lightly with a fork. Add a tablespoon of egg at a time to the butter mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. It's worth taking time with this as this will ensure a super light cake.
- Blitz the hazelnuts in a food processor, don’t over mix otherwise they will become claggy. Combine the flour and baking powder with the ground hazelnuts. Fold in 3 additions to the cake batter.
- Peel 2 pears, remove the core and chop into small pieces. Cut the third pear in half and slice finely into 5 length ways (this is for the top of the cake) peel the remainder and chop and add to the rest. Fold into the cake batter with the chocolate.
- Pour into the greased and lined loaf tin. Arrange the sliced pears on the top and sprinkle the remaining hazelnuts on the top.
- Bake for 70-90 minutes, or until when a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- This will also fit into a 20cm cake tin.