I'm just going to come right out there and say that I am exceedingly proud of myself for the construction of the piece of deliciousness you see pictured above. I made it when sweet baby A was only 2 months old (yes, that's right, almost THREE MONTHS AGO). Yes, it is true that newborn babies tend to sleep more, leaving us new moms with slightly more down time than we have when they're older and nonstop awake and rolling all over the floor like there's a fire in the house. By no means is it easy, however, to prepare food for yourself with an infant, no matter the age. Hence the pride.
Strangely enough, when I was pregnant I didn't want much to do with sweets at all. It wasn't exactly a pregnancy aversion, because I'm not the hugest dessert person, but it was weird for me to avoid things that were traditionally my favorites, like dark chocolate, cinnamon doughnuts, and lemon bars. I kept up a steady diet of cheeses and savory items, from which baby A clearly benefitted (see entry on ginormous nature of my newborn babe). The pendulum rapidly swung upon his birth, however, and all I wanted (and still want) are sweet things. Vanilla meringues and chocolate chip cookie dunkers from Trader Joe's. Salted caramel cupcakes. Every new Ben and Jerry's flavor in the freezer. Yes, even brown sugar cinnamon Pop Tarts (I'm capable of sinking quite low).
It is because of my unquenchable craving for sweets that I opted to take a whole bunch of pears from a delicious gift basket and swiftly turn them into the opposite of healthy, this bittersweet chocolate and pear cake. I have probably mentioned this before, but I'm not a fruit person. I know I need to eat it, and I do, but I don't like it! A giant bowl of freshly sliced pineapple will make me happy, and maybe some delicate raspberries or really juicy strawberries, but the rest of the general fruit population I could probably live without (in my defense, I've never met a vegetable I didn't like).
Needless to say, as I looked at those pears one summer day, a little memory crept into my mind, that of reading about Deb's recipe for a pear and chocolate cake. Two things particularly stood out, the shards of dark chocolate and the lightly whipped cream. Side note: I would eat anything, I think, if accompanied by lightly whipped cream.
Conveniently, I had two bars of bittersweet chocolate in my pantry (saved for making these, also a heavenly treat I enjoyed this summer) and a container of heavy cream in the fridge. Feeling virtuous about the fact that I was indeed going to put the pears to good use, I set about making the cake.
The cake is a wonderful piece of heaven. I know that it really is especially good because my pears were rather forlorn and old-ish, so the fact that it tasted so good in spite of that fact is a testament to the success of the recipe. It's also not that difficult, because I made most of it while baby A sat cheerfully in his bouncer right next to me, and even though he is very good-natured, he has an extremely short attention span. You should make it immediately. DO NOT FORGET THE CREAM.
P.S. I don't know if I have ever been more excited about a food blogger's upcoming cookbook than I am about Smitten Kitchen's. I can't plug her site enough.