This cake is best served gooey in the middle and ever so slightly under-cooked. It is part cake, part brownie and part fondant – basically all of my favourite chocolate desserts rolled into one!
Put the eggs and the yolk into the bowl of a stand mixer, and using the whisk attachment, whisk it until it is really light, fluffy and mousse-like, or reaches the ribbon stage. To check that it has reached the right stage, lift up some of the mixture on the whisk and let it fall back down – it should sit on the surface of the mixture for 6–8 seconds before slowly disappearing back in. You can also use a large bowl and a hand-held electric whisk or a balloon whisk, but it might take a little time.
When it has reached the right consistency, add the soft light brown sugar and whisk until the mixture is light and mousse-like. To check that the mixture is ready, pick up a little mousse with the whisk and then let it drop back into the mixture. It should sit on the mixture for 6 seconds before it sinks.
Add the flour to the egg and sugar mixture with the salt and gently whisk this all together. Fold in the melted chocolate mixture and the hazelnuts, using as few stirs as possible to keep the air in. Make sure you mix in all of the flour and hazelnuts. Then tip the mixture into the lined tin, pouring from a low height so it does not knock all of the air out of it.
Arrange the pear slices on top of the cake mixture and
When the cake is ready, remove it from the oven and sprinkle with the extra toasted hazelnuts and then leave to cool a little before serving. Serve warm or cold, sprinkled with icing sugar if you fancy it.
© Lorraine Pascale, 2017. Images: © Myles New, 2017.