Traditionally, this Italian dessert features liqueur-soaked sponge cake and pastry cream, layered like a trifle. It translates literally as 'English soup' – though it's neither soupy nor English! In this deconstructed version, pears poached in Amaretto yield a beautiful poaching liquid, which is poured over the simple sponge cake to create a beautiful pudding-y texture. A coffee-and-chocolate mascarpone adds a decadent twist, creating flavours reminiscent of a tiramisu.
- 180 g flour
- 1 t baking powder
- ½ t bicarbonate of soda
- 1 cup full-cream yoghurt
- 150 g sugar
- ½ cup sunflower oil
- 1 t vanilla extract
- For the vanilla-poached pears:
- 4 pears, halved lengthways
- 4 T brown sugar
- 2 T honey
- 2 t vanilla paste
- 1 cup Woolworths Honeydew juice
- 1 cup Amaretto or sherry
- For the coffee-chocolate crema, mix:
- 100 g chocolate, melted
- 4 T espresso
- 150 g mascarpone
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 20 cm bundt or round cake tin. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the remaining ingredients together for 7 minutes.
2. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Spoon into the cake tin and bake for 40 minutes.
3. Remove the cake from the tin and place on a plate. Prick with a fork and spoon over some of the pear poaching liquid.
4. To make the poached pears, place all the ingredients into a saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the pears and simmer the syrup until slightly reduced.
5. Serve the cake with the coffee-chocolate crema and pears.
Cook's note: “This is my take on this classic and plays with the different flavours of coffee and chocolate."
Photograph: Jan Ras
Food assistant: Bianca Strydom