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Cocoa & Pear Cake

May 19, 2012

When I was pregnant with Stella, I completely lost my sweet tooth. I just wanted, as you may recall, pizza and pasta and pizza covered in pizza. Everyone said that meant I was having a boy. But it turns out, it was probably just my body telling me to stop eating cake for breakfast, lunch, dessert, and anytime in between. That kind of stuff can’t be good for you.

My problem is? Un-pregnant me loves cake. And cookies. And ice cream. Thankfully, I’m not a huge fan of candy. Except for gummy bears.

While I’d never refuse to a good (or even a bad) slice of pizza, and because I haven’t figured out how to make gummy bears yet, I’m back to making cake.

I think that baking, for me, has less to do with warmcuddlyhomemakergoodwife, and more to do with me. Eating cake. That’s disingenuous: I love baking for friends and family. As long as no one takes more than one piece. Contrary to the advice of every pediatrician and grandmother, I even share the things I bake with Stella. But that’s because she doesn’t have a big appetite yet.

And besides, I refuse to believe that homemade cake can be bad for a baby. It’s made with love! Doesn’t that mean anything?

When love is made from refined sugar, the world would like you to think that it doesn’t. (For those of you worried about my baby’s health and safety, she ingests about 1/2 an adult mouthful over the course of an hour, and by that I mean in the 4 minutes of patience she has for these things, she swallows about 3 crumbs.)

So, while it appears that I’ve been cooking up nothing but savory, the truth is I’ve just been turning to old favorites, such as chocolate chip cookies x 4819297, and this tea cake made with cocoa and pears. I’ve been making this for years now, and it’s always a hit. It’s moist, not too sweet, simple and hearty. I especially love it because it doesn’t call for butter, meaning – for a microwave-less baker like me – it’s just a question of throwing things in bowls. (Though I do love butter cakes. Oh, I do.) It also uses up some of the fruit in various states of rot that are always hanging around the kitchen.

I used to call this pear and chocolate cake, but I’ve recently made a cake that more accurately fits that description, so it’s cocoa from now on. You could make this cake for breakfast or afternoon snack (tea in Australia? I don’t know, I haven’t figured out what “tea” means here yet, but I’m sure you could eat this at tea). Or you could make it just because you like cake. Because you have a sweet tooth. And because maybe? This kind of stuff can be good for you.


1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 – 1 cup pear or apple sauce (ie. 2 mashed pears)

1 pear, chopped

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease a loaf pan or a cake tin. To make the pear sauce, cook 2 chopped pears with a few tablespoons of water, stirring a bit, until it’s a mushy sauce.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cocoa. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugars, oil and vanilla until combined. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixure; stir to combine; then add the mushy and chopped pears and combine. Pour batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 1 hour or until an inserted tester comes out clean.

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