Chocolate Ginger Cake, Chai Pear, Pecan Praline Recipe
Winter months and their associated festivities bring with them a desire to cosy up indoors with woollen jumpers and log fires, while our palates turn from light and fresh summer fare to rich and aromatic flavours. This recipe for Chocolate Ginger Cake with Chai Buttercream, Chai Poached Pear and Pecan Praline is inspired by those warm and spicy scents and flavours of winter.
This recipe was originally created in 2017 for a feature in American Cake Decorating magazine and it subsequently was featured in The Taste.ie. It is such a good seasonal cake which I have made many times. I thought it was time that I shared it directly with my followers for you to enjoy too!
Chocolate Ginger Cake Flavours
The chocolate ginger cake is deliciously light and moist, with the ginger adding just the right amount of heat to give a little winter kick, without being overbearing for those who are not so inclined towards ginger.
Chai is a spiced milk tea from India, with the spices used varying from region to region but generally including the heady mix of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom and pepper, a perfect spicy compliment to the ginger of the chocolate cake. I have introduced the chai flavour with a flavoured butter in the buttercream icing, and also in the chai poached pears. Chocolate and pear is a match made in heaven and the pears are a beautifully sweet and fresh addition to this cake.
The final flourish is the pecan praline, adding a little crunch and extra seasonal decadence!
Chocolate Ginger Cake Details
Decorated with a half poached pear, candied pecans and a little gold leaf this cake is a little bit special and would make a delectable centrepiece dessert for seasonal gatherings. Much can be made in advance in preparation for entertaining: un-iced the cake keeps well in an airtight container for up to a week while the buttercream can likewise be made in advance and stored in the fridge. Once assembled it can be wrapped tightly in cling film and kept in the fridge for 1-2 days…..if any lasts that long!
I hope you enjoy this cake, do tag us on social media @covecakedesign with your creations!
Chocolate Ginger Cake, Chai Pear, Pecan Praline
Ingredients for the Chocolate Ginger Cake:
- 175g unsalted butter
- 150g 70% dark chocolate callets
- 150g caster sugar
- 150g soft light brown sugar
- 45g cocoa powder
- 225mls hot coffee
- 1tbsp dark treacle
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 210g plain flour
- 2heaped tsp ground ginger
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1tsp baking soda
- Pinch salt
Ingredients for the Chai Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- 340g unsalted butter
- 3 chai teabags
- 150g fresh egg whites
- 250g granulated sugar
- 1tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
Ingredients for the Chai Poached Pears
- 500ml water
- 3 chai teabags
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 150g caster sugar
- 2 pears
Ingredients for the Pecan Praline
- 75g caster sugar
- 50g pecan nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 150⁰C/300F. Grease and line the base and sides of three 15cm/6” cake tins.
- To make the cake, melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over a low heat.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar and cocoa powder until incorporated.
- Slowly add the hot coffee and whisk until smooth.
- Whisk in the treacle and then the eggs one at a time.
- In the bowl of a mixer (or a large bowl), sift together the flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix gently until combined.
- With mixer on low speed gradually pour the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture. Once added, beat on medium-high speed for approximately 1min. Scrape the bottom of bowl and beat again briefly until there are no lumps and everything is well mixed.
- Divide the mixture between the three tins and bake for 25-30 mins or until springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave cakes to cool in the tin for 10 mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the chai poached pears, place the water in a saucepan with a squeeze of lemon juice and bring to the boil.
- Remove from the heat and add the chai teabags. Leave to infuse for approximately 10-15mins before removing the teabags.
- Add the sugar to the chai tea and bring to a simmer again to dissolve.
- Peel the pears and add to the poaching liquid.
- Simmer for approximately 25-30mins until pears are soft through.
- Remove the pears from the poaching liquid, drain of excess liquid and set aside to cool completely.
- To make the pecan praline, heat the sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat, swirling from time to time until sugar has melted and starts to turn a golden brown colour. Take care not to burn.
- Remove from the heat and quickly add the chopped pecans, stirring to coat.
- Quickly scrape the praline onto non-stick baking paper and spread out. Leave to cool before roughly breaking up in a small blender or pestle and mortar.
- To make the chai swiss meringue buttercream icing, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Heat until the butter begins to sizzle, darkens slightly and exudes a delicious toffee-like aroma.
- Remove from the heat and add the chai tea bags. Leave to infuse for at least 30 mins.
- Remove the tea bags and pour the butter into a bowl. Place in the fridge until firm.
- When ready to make the buttercream, remove the flavoured butter from the fridge and allow to warm up slightly (you want the butter cool but not fridge cold).
- Clean the bowl and whisk of an electric mixer with a squeeze of lemon juice and dry with paper towel to remove any traces of grease.
- Place the egg white and sugar into the bowl and place over a pot of simmering water, whisking constantly, until the temperature reaches 160°F on a candy thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
- Transfer the bowl to the mixer and using the whisk attachment whisk until the meringue is thick and glossy and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch.
- Switch to paddle attachment and with mixer on low speed add the butter a cube at a time, mixing until incorporated after each addition. If the mixture curdles continue to mix until it comes back together. Add the cinnamon and ginger and mix again briefly. If the buttercream is too runny, refrigerate until firmer and mix again before using.
- To assemble the cake, trim the tops of each cake so they are the same height.
- Place one cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Pipe one third of the chai buttercream on top and smooth with a palette knife. Chop one and a half of the poached pears into small pieces and sprinkle half on top of the buttercream (you don’t have to add all the pear if you feel it is too much). Sprinkle over a third of the praline. Repeat with the second cake layer.
- Invert the final cake layer on top. Pipe and spread the remaining buttercream and sprinkle with the remaining pecans. Place the remaining half a poached pear on top. If desired add a little gold leaf.