Monday, March 10, 2014

Chocolate Rum Caramel Upside Down Pear Cake

It was a cake not meant to be. Or so I thought.

 Rum Caramel Pears

I actually made this cake twice. The first time, it was for a close friend's birthday. She's a baker, so I decided to bake her something for her birthday. I can't say for her, but whenever my birthday comes around, I rarely, if ever get a homemade cake. So I thought yup, a cake for her!

I decided on an upside down fruit cake of some sort, since I've not attempted one before, and I thought the typical upside down cakes look quite pretty without much decorating effort. Alas, I actually underbaked the cake, so when I turned it outta the pan, it sorta look a mess. I was like OMG, what am I going to do with an ugly cake??? Oh well, I tried my best to arrange the top bits to make it less ugly, to no avail. Remembering that people actually make "microwave mug cakes", I turned to the microwave for help. I microwaved the cake for a few seconds to cook it further and it sorta worked. The cake was less runny in the middle. Aesthetics disaster aside, it tasted pretty good, so I made a mental note to remake the cake some time later.

Yeps, I did manage to get around making it a few months later. And it was a success this time round. The previous time I made it, I thought that it was too sweet. The amount of caramel was too much (in my opinion, then again, some of you might say - there can never be too much caramel...). I've included the quantities I used for both attempts below, the amount indicated * was the second attempt, which I thought was just nice. But if you like tons of caramel, feel free to use the other proportion.

The cake baked up beautifully moist. And I love how you could actually taste the rum accent in the caramel. When I reduced the amount of caramel ingredients for the second attempt, if you notice, the rum quantity was more or less the same. I mean, if it's a rum-flavoured anything, it's best to add more so you can actually discern the flavour isn't it? ;)

I topped the cake with some chopped salted macadamias. It provided a crunch, and a tinge of saltiness to the overall flavour notes. I'm a fan of salt sweet desserts, so this was definitely a tick in my book.

The not so pretty first attempt ha!

Chocolate Rum Caramel Upside Down Pear Cake
(makes one 8" round cake)

One 820g can pear halves (460g when drained), further sliced into quarters

Rum caramel
200g brown sugar (*150g)
85g salted butter, cut into pieces (*62g)
3.5 tbsp rum (*3 tbsp)
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Combine brown sugar and butter in a saucepan. Heat over medium low (I kept it at about 100C -130C on my induction cooker). Once the butter starts to melt and the mixture is bubbling, stir constantly with wooden spoon to prevent mixture from burning.
When all the sugar has melted and the mixture is smooth and caramel-y thick, remove from heat. Add rum and cinnamon and stir till combined and smooth. Be careful when you add the rum as the alcohol will bubble furiously.
Spread the rum caramel out evenly over the bottom of the pan.
Place pear slices on top of the caramel in a circular fashion.

Chocolate cake
56g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate, chopped
30g all-purpose flour
70g wholemeal flour
40g cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
130g granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp rum
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt

Preheat the oven to 175C. Grease an 8 inch round baking pan.
Place the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat and melt, stirring occasionally.
Sift the flours, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl.
Transfer the melted chocolate to a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and add the sugar. Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes using electric mixer, until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and rum.
Fold in the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the milk in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the cake bounces back slightly when touched.
Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, run a sharp knife around the edge to help loosen, then invert the cake onto a plate, leaving the pan on top of the cake for 5 minutes before you remove it.

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