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Spiced red wine poached pears in chocolate cake batter, out of cake pan, post oven, topped with ganache and flaky sea salt. Side angle shot. Cake is cut into and can see a full pear sliced, on black background, and left side of cake is cut off.
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4.84 from 6 votes

Spiced Red Wine Pear & Chocolate Cake

Deliciously impressive and easy to make red wine spiced poached pear and chocolate cake. Stunning deep ruby whole pears popping out of a moist and boozy chocolate cake…fall and winter baking at its very best!
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Californian
Servings: 8
Author: Daniela Gerson


For the Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

  • 2.5 cups dry red wine such as cabernet or merlot
  • 8 Bosc pears
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 long strips orange peel
  • 1 orange juiced
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cardamom pods

For the Cake

  • 1/2 cup

    unsalted butter melted, plus a bit
more for greasing

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1 cup spiced red wine
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 4 ounces semisweet, bittersweet or dark chocolate chips  about 2/3 cups
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons spiced red wine


  • To make the spiced red wine poached pears, bring all the ingredients (except for the pears) to a boil in a large saucepan and let simmer while you peal the pears.
  • While poaching liquid is simmering, peel pears, leaving the stem in tact. Slice a thin cut from the bottom to create a flat surface so the pears can easily stand.
  • Gently place the pears in the simmering poaching liquid and poach for 30 min, turning every 5 min or so, to ensure even color. Then allow to cool slightly while you prepare the cake.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter.
  • Whisk together flour, cocoa powder baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together sugar, egg and melted butter in a large bowl until pale.
  • Gently remove the pears from the poaching liquid and set aside.
  • Strain the red wine and add 1 cup of it to the butter mixture (set the rest aside to be used in the ganache), whisk to combine. Whisk in vanilla and flour mixture until all combined.
  • Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth top then place the pears bottom side down in the batter.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45-50 min. Let cake cool.
  • To make the ganache, place chocolate into a bowl. Warm up the cream and wine in a small saucepan on the stove until simmering. Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate and let it sit for a min. Stir to combine.
  • Brush ganache on top of cake, letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, and let stand until ganache is set, about 30 minutes. Any leftover ganache can be served along side the cake. Enjoy!


  • Be sure to cut a bit off the bottom of each pear so that they easily stand up in both the poaching liquid and batter.
  • Choose Bosc (or similar pairs) that won’t turn to mush when poached.
  • If you own a springform pan, now is the time to use it.