This is one of those cakes that you can take ANYWHERE. Dress it up with fresh, barely-sweetened, homemade whipped cream and it’s perfect for a holiday or dinner party. Serve it as is with coffee. Make it with bananas instead of pears and take it to a neighborhood potluck.

It’s pretty perfect and very delicious.

Right now, I’m making the banana version to bring to our friends’ house, where it will be enjoyed as we watch the Patriots crush the Jets in tomorrow’s NFL play-off game.

Edited to add:  So, the Pats didn’t win, but the cake was still delicious. Also, I’ve decided that I’m going to experiment and make this with fresh, in-season cherries this Summer. I’ll let you know how it turns out. My bets are on scrumptious.

Pear-Almond Cake with Chocolate Chunks

(adapted from Rachael Ray)

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large pears—peeled, cored and thinly sliced (or two sliced bananas, if you are pear-averse)
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks (I just chop a good quality bar into chunks)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup granulated sugar, the vanilla extract, and the 2 eggs until pale yellow, 1 to 2 minutes; whisk in the butter. Stir into the flour mixture until just combined.
  4. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and top with half of the pear or banana slices and half of the chocolate; repeat with the remaining batter, pears or bananas, and chocolate.
  5. Using a food processor, finely grind 1/4 cup almonds with the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Add the egg white and process until smooth. Drizzle over the cake and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup almonds. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool slightly, then dust lightly with the confectioners’ sugar.
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