For this particular combination of pear and dark chocolate, I had a slightly bruised though still delightful (and massive) Harry & David Royal Riviera pear. If you've never had one (and one may well last you for several sittings - this guy was nearly the size of a small cantaloupe), it's pretty much what all other pears aspire to, I would imagine. And if you think you don't like pears (too gritty, too soft), I'm afraid you are mistaken: get your hands on a Royal Riviera and report back. I'll be the one making cakes in the meantime.
Anyhow, too past its prime for afternoon eating, I decided to throw it into this super easy loaf cake with some 60% dark chocolate and tart, creamy yogurt. Why not, right? For this recipe, you'll need:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large ripe pear, peeled, cored and cubed
1/2 dark chocolate chips or chunks (I used normal chips, though on my second round I might consider minis.)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a medium loaf pan (or two smallies). Coconut oil is especially nice for baked goods for the crisp outer layer it creates. In a smaller bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients and set aside. In a separate larger bowl, whisk together your sugar, eggs and vanilla.
Add your yogurt to the sugar, egg and vanilla mixture and stir until completely combined. Then fold in your dry ingredients slowly. Once mixed, add your canola oil and fold until smooth and thoroughly mixed. This will seem pretty impossible until you get going, but give it a few solid folds and you'll start to see everything emulsify.
Pour about half of your batter into your prepared pan or pans. Sprinkle a layer of pear pieces and chocolate chips. Top again with the remainder of your cake batter, then sprinkle the rest of your pear pieces and chocolate. Gently press with the back of a spatula or spoon to partially submerge the fruit and chocolate.
Transfer to the oven and bake for about an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. You may find that your cake starts to get a bit dark on top; if so, feel free to cover with foil about halfway through to prevent burning. A little browning around the edges is expected, though, and if you ask me, pretty nice.
What I love about this cake is that the majority of its sweetness tastes like pears, not just sugar. It's super airy with rich flavor, which is a crazy-good contrast that's hard to beat. Perfect for taking to work to share with hungry coworkers, by the way. It's a sturdy guy that knows how to travel.