By Jane Curran
- 410g can pears in natural juice
- 50ml skimmed milk
- 1tbsp instant espresso granules
- 1tbsp sunflower oil
- 75g cocoa powder
- 200g plain flour
- tsp baking powder
- tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 340g caster sugar
- 6 egg whites
For the topping
- 250g half-fat crème fraîche
- 175g 50% cocoa solids dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
- fondant icing and edible silver balls
You will need
- a 1.3-litre ring mould cake tin, well buttered, and a snowflake cutter
Heat the oven to 180C, gas 4. Drain the pears and whizz in a food processor to make a puree. Mix the puree with the milk, espresso granules and oil. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, sift in the cocoa, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and ½tsp salt. Mix together and set aside.
Put the sugar and egg whites into a large bowl. Whisk at high speed with an electric hand whisk for 3 minutes, or until stiff and glossy. Add the pear puree mixture and whisk at low speed until well blended.
Fold the flour mixture into the egg white mixture. Spoon the batter into the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes. Allow it to cool for a few minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the topping, heat the crème fraîche in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. When it’s hot, remove from the heat and add in the chocolate. Leave for 5 minutes to melt then mix with a hand whisk until smooth – don’t over-stir or the chocolate will split – and leave until thickened. Allow it to cool slightly for a few minutes.
Using a palette knife, spread the topping over the cake, then score lines with a fork to form a “log” effect. We cut out snowflakes from ready-made fondant icing and stuck a silver ball in the centre of each. Use a little icing sugar mixed with water to stick on the ball.
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