Beneath white chocolate curls, layers of cake, caramelized Bosc pears, and white chocolate cream await.
Makes 16 to 18 servings
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1¾ cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- ⅔ cup molasses (not blackstrap)
- 3 cups unbleached cake flour
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1¼ teaspoons ground nutmeg
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1¼ cups coffee, room temperature
- Caramelized Pears:
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 6 ripe but firm Bosc pears (approximately 3⅓ pounds), peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- ⅓ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- White Chocolate Cream:
- 12 ounces white chocolate baking bars, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3¾ cups cold heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- Garnish: white chocolate curls
- For cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 13x9-inch baking pan with baking spray with flour; line with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, brown sugar, and lemon zest at medium-low speed just until combined. Increase speed to medium, and beat until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in eggs and yolk, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Beat in molasses.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves, allspice, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternately with coffee, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined. (Batter may look slightly curdled at this point, but batter will come together, and cake will bake well.)
- Spread batter in prepared pan. Forcefully tap pan on counter several times to evenly spread batter and release any air bubbles.
- Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.
- Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Using excess parchment as handles, remove cake from pan. Using a serrated knife, cut into 1-inch cubes.
- For pears: In a large Dutch oven, heat butter over medium heat; stir in pears and orange juice. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until pears are crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, and salt. Stir brown sugar mixture into pears; increase heat to medium. Cook, uncovered, until pears are tender and brown sugar mixture is bubbly, about 5 minutes. Transfer pears to a large bowl; refrigerate until cool, at least 1 hour.
- For white chocolate cream: Place white chocolate and salt in a large, heat-proof bowl.
- In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup cream almost to a boil over medium heat. Pour cream over white chocolate; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth; let cool for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat remaining 2¾ cups cream and vanilla paste at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold cream mixture into white chocolate mixture in three additions until well combined.
- To assemble, layer a third of gingerbread cake cubes, firmly packed, in the bottom of a 5-quart trifle bowl. Top with a third of pears, arranging in an overlapping pattern around edge of dish and then filling in center as desired. Spoon a third of white chocolate cream over pears, smoothing into an even layer. Repeat layers twice with remaining cake, pears, and cream. Garnish with white chocolate curls, if desired. Serve immediately.