Serves 8 to 10
A really delicious treat for the festive season and why not add sparklers and edible glitter for fun!
Written by Catherine Fulvio for the RTE Guide. Photo: John Cooney.
For the poached pears
- 3 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
- 400ml red wine
- 200g caster sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
For the cake
- 220g softened butter
- 200g caster sugar
- 6 eggs
- 250g self raising flour, sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder
- ¾ tsp ginger
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 tbsp milk (you may need more)
For the cream
- 200ml whipped cream
- 100g white chocolate, melted
- 1 orange, zest only
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- A pinch nutmeg
- For the ganache
- 200g dark chocolate
- 200ml cream
- Fresh cranberries, to decorate
- Blackberries and raspberries, to decorate (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Line 2 x 20cm cake tins with baking parchment.
Place the butter into a large mixing bowl and whisk with an electric beater, gradually add the sugar and whisk until fluffy and pale.
Add the eggs, two at a time. Fold in the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Stir in the chocolate drops.
Pour into the 2 lined cake tins and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. To check if the cake is cooked, insert a skewer in the centre of the cake and if it comes out clean the cake is cooked.
Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
To prepare the cream, fold the melted white chocolate into the cream, add the orange zest, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and spoon into a piping bag with a star nozzle.
To prepare the ganache, heat the cream and add the chocolate and stir very well. Remove from the heat and stir until thickened and cool.
To assemble, place one cake layer on a cake stand, spoon some of the syrup from the pears over the cake and pipe rosettes of spiced cream over one layer. Arrange the slices of pears on top and cover with a cake layer.
Cover the top layer with the chocolate ganache and arrange cranberries, blackberries and raspberries (if you are using them) on top and around the side into the cream.