This Red Wine Pear Cake was one of my favorites growing up. Its warming flavors from the spices, red wine, and and rum paired with the smooth sweetness of the poached pears is such a wonderful treat.
Sometimes when picking up rolls (or Brötchen) in Germany, we also picked up a few extra treats for the afternoon. Such as this amazing Rotwein-Birnen-Kuchen. You can also spell it without the hyphens, but I figured Rotweinbirnenkuchen may be a bit too intense of a word for most Americans to digest.
This cake doesn't seem to have a very romantic story of where it originated, but I want to just hold onto that memory because I actually love it. And isn't it in the simplest of pleasures that we find the most comfort?
Warm sun rays peaking through the crisp morning fall air as my family and I walk across the parking lot of this gas station, to wait in line to order some Brötchen and a couple of slices of cake. Oftentimes we would check out with a couple of easy-to-read magazines in hand that we would later on either read by the fire or on my mom's deck if the weather in Waldrach decided to warm up in the afternoon.
This Kuchen though... a dream... pieces of poached, spiced pear nestled atop a buttery, chocolate-freckled, spiced bundt cake (I am in love with the bundt pan I used!), made even better by the addition of red wine and rum.
These days, Kaffee and Kuchen time is very much my happy time to celebrate life and indulge. I like to serve this Rotweinbirnenkuchen with a simple whipped cream made from heavy cream with a touch of powdered sugar and some vanilla extract.
Rotwein-Birnen-Kuchen (German Red Wine Pear Cake)
- 4 eggs
- 200 g sugar
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 200 g butter
- 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon spiced rum such as the iconic, Austrian STROH rum
- 250 g flour
- 8 g baking powder
- 125 ml red wine I used a German Spätburgunder/Pinot Noir by Affentaler
- 150 g good, dark chocolate
- 3 pears
- ½ lemon juice only
- some sugar for poaching
- whole spices for poaching I used a cinnamon stick and cloves
- Chop the chocolate (you can also use small chocolate chips). Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the soft butter and beat until combined. Gradually add the remaining ingredients and pour the batter into a loaf pan or bundt pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees F/ 180 degrees C for about 40 minites. Test with a cake tester or toothpick to confirm the cake is done (only a few crumbs should stick to the tester/toothpick).
- Peel the pears, quarter and remove the core. Immediately sprinkle with some fresh lemon juice to avoid oxidization, or they will turn an ugly brown color. Bring a quart of water to a boil. Add sugar and spices, if desired. Add pears, and allow to simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until soft (time depends on how hard the fruit is). Drain and run cold water over the pears, and allow to cool.
- Brush the pears it with warmed apricot jam (I add a little bit of water to it to make it a better consistency to brush on). Dust in powdered sugar, garnish with more chopped chocolate and serve with freshly whipped cream.