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Red wine chocolate cake with poached pear

Rich and luxurious, this chocolate cake balances red wine, olive oil and poached pears.

• 255g (1 3/4 cups) plain flour, sifted
• 75g (3/4 cup) Dutch cocoa, sifted (see top tips)
• 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 330g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
• 2 eggs
• 250ml (1 cup) buttermilk
• 250ml (1 cup) Morgenster Nu Merlot red wine
• 125ml (1/2 cup) Morgenster extra virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Red wine poached pears
• 110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
• 250ml (1 cup) Morgenster Nu Merlot red wine
• 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
• 3 corella pears, peeled, cored, quartered

Step 1
To make poached pears, combine all ingredients and 250ml (1 cup) water in a saucepan, then bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover with a round of baking paper, reduce heat to low, then cook for 30 minutes or until pears are tender. Remove from heat, then cool pears in syrup
Step 2
Meanwhile, to make cake, preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 23cm springform pan, then line base and sides with baking paper. Place flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Add eggs, buttermilk, wine, oil and vanilla, then, using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or until smooth (the batter will be thin).
Step 3
Pour batter into pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Cool cake for 10 minutes, release side, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 4
Using a slotted spoon, remove pears. Return syrup to medium–high heat and simmer for 8 minutes or until thickened. Cool slightly.
Step 5
Top cake with poached pears, then drizzle with warm syrup to serve.

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