Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Brighten Your Day

You know that old question, "What 5 things would you want on a deserted island?"  Well, one of mine would be lemons (or in today's case, oranges).  I may even include my Microplane, but I figure I'll get crafty and make my own in all of that spare time.  Why?  Because everything tastes better with zest.  I'm zest obsessed.  It works with sweet and savory...and it's pretty. The smell alone will brighten your day.  Make this cake. You will not be disappointed.

Double Chocolate Pear Cake with Orange Zest

adapted, slightly, from Edible

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
2/3 c. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt (I used vanilla salt)
1/4 c. cocoa powder
3/4 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
3 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and chopped
Zest from one orange (use less if it's huge and/or if you want a subtle flavor)
1 1/2 T. freshly squeezed orange juice
1 large egg
3/4 c. milk (I used nf)
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 t. pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Lightly grease an 8 inch round or square baking pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and the salt.  Sift in the cocoa powder and stir to combine with the other ingredients.  Stir in the chocolate chips; set aside.
In a large shallow bowl, combine the pears, orange juice, and zest.  Mash the pears until smoothish with a fork or a potato masher.  Whisk in the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients.  Stir just until blended.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out barely moist., 35-45 minutes.  Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes.  Remove cake from pan and cool completely before serving.  If you can wait, I never can.  Enjoy!

PS my photo was awful, but you can see a decent one here.