Chocolate Spiced Pear Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

by formerchef on October 23, 2016

with Cream Cheese Filling

Chocolate Spice Pear Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

This is not the most beautiful cake I’ve ever made.

It may not be Pinterest-worthy or inspire a thousand “likes”.

It’s no tart dressed up for the prom (see what I did there…tart…get it…oh never mind…).

The cake is rich with dark chocolate, and fragrant with spices and sweet pears that remind me of a cool Fall day. It’s also not particularly difficult to make and it holds up well enough to bring it to a dinner party or Thanksgiving.

Basically, this cake is your favorite sweater and softest pair of worn jeans. It’s not fancy. It’s humble and home made, a little sweet and a little special, and best of all, delicious.

Chocolate Spiced Pear Cake

Bosc Pears

Chocolate Spiced Pear Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

Ingredients

    For The Cakes:
  • 2 each Bosc pears (or other type, should be ripe, but firm).
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • For The Filling and Garnish
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar plus extra powdered sugar (about 1/4 cup) for garnish
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut paper to fit the bottom of two 9" cake pans. Butter and flour each pan then line the bottom with the paper rounds.
  3. Cut the pears into quarters. Cut out the core and then thinly slice lengthwise. Lay the pears on the paper in the bottom of each cake pan in a single layer.
  4. To make the batter:
  5. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Whisk them together to get rid of any lumps.
  6. Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl, either over boiling water or in the microwave in 30 second increments. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then whisk the oil, sugar and vanilla into the melted chocolate.
  7. Whisk the buttermilk, egg and coffee into the chocolate mixture.
  8. Add half the flour mixture into the chocolate mix and stir. Add the other half of the flour mixture and stir until smooth.
  9. Pour the batter into each cake pan, dividing it equally.
  10. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a wooden skewer comes out clean.
  11. Set the pans on a baking rack until cool enough to touch. Run a knife around the edge and then invert onto a baking rack. Remove the paper and finish cooling.
  12. To make the filling:
  13. Using an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese for a few minutes. Add the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
  14. Select the cake with the nicest looking pears and set it aside for the top.
  15. Take the other cake and pear side up, place on a serving plate. Using a cake spatula, spread the cream cheese filling over the top of the cake on the plate. Set the first cake on top on the cream cheese filling with the pear side up. Sprinkle the top of the cake lightly with powdered sugar through a fine mesh sieve.

Notes

Tip: Sprinkle on the powdered sugar right before serving. If you do it in advance, the moisture from the cake and the pears may make it melt and disappear.

http://www.formerchef.com/2016/10/23/chocolate-spiced-pear-cake-with-cream-cheese-filling/

Chocolate Spice Pear Cake with Cream Cheese Filling.

Chocolate Spice Pear Cake with Cream Cheese Filling.

*Amazon link in the recipe is for an example. If you choose to order something your cost is the same, but I get a teeny-tiny percentage which goes to help support this site.

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Roasted Chicken Thighs with Berbere Spice and Orange

by formerchef on October 1, 2016

Berbere Spiced Chicken

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Berbere Spice and Orange

If you read my recent post comparing the meal kit services of Home Chef and Blue Apron, you might have noticed that one of the most enjoyable perks of using these companies was being able to learn about and try new ingredients and cooking methods without much investment. One of my favorite home chef meals were chicken thighs made with Berbere spice blend, and I liked it so much I’ve adapted it and put it into regular rotation at our house.

Berbere spice is a mix of spices commonly used in Etheopian cuisine. It typically contains such spices as paprika, cayenne, fenugreek, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and ginger. When I looked it up, I found that every recipe was different, much like a curry. In the end, instead of making it myself, I bought Organic Berbere Spice* from Amazon and I found it to be almost identical in flavor to the one I got from Home Chef (also much more affordable at $3.50 than buying all the spices separately).

In the Home Chef recipe, they simply coated the chicken in the spice. In my version, I’ve included it in a marinade (as well as on top of the chicken), but also added orange zest and juice for a complimentary flavor and I’m incredibly pleased with the result. I chose bone in, skin on chicken thighs because they have more flavor and are almost foolproof to cook to a juicy doneness with crispy skin. And who doesn’t like that? If you prefer boneless, skinless chicken breasts you can use this recipe on them too, just take care not to overcook them.

Berbere Spiced Chicken

Berbere Spiced Chicken

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Berbere Spice and Orange

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Berbere Spice and Orange

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Berbere Spice, divided
  • 1 orange, zested then juiced (about 1 tablespoon zest and 1/3rd cup juice)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3- 3.5 lbs bone in, skin on, chicken thighs (6 large thighs)

Instructions

  1. Combine the minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of the Berbere spice, the orange zest and juice (I like this zester)*, vinegar, oil and salt in a container large enough to snugly hold the chicken.
  2. Place the chicken in the marinade, turning it a couple of times to coat each piece.
  3. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, allowing to marinate. Turn the pieces a time or two while in the marinade. Can be held in the marinade up to 24 hours in advance.
  4. When ready to roast the chicken, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Place the chicken on a wire rack in a roasting pan*, skin side up. I do this because it elevates the chicken so it's not sitting in the chicken fat and juices. This gives a crispier skin.
  6. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon of Berbere Spice, generously coating the skin side of the chicken.
  7. Roast the chicken in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and the skin is crisp.

Notes

I served this dish with grilled zucchini and cous cous cooked with dried apricots, dried cherries and pistachios mixed in. I know this is not Ethiopian, and more Moroccan in flavor, but it some of the spices are similar in both cuisines and it worked well.

http://www.formerchef.com/2016/10/01/roasted-chicken-thighs-with-berbere-spice-and-orange/

Berbere Spiced Chicken

Berbere Spiced Chicken

*Amazon links above and in the recipe are for examples. If you choose to order something your cost is the same, but I get a teeny-tiny percentage which goes to help support this site.

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