1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1-2 small Bartlett (or other firm) pears, peeled, halved, and cored
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 4.5-inch baking pans or one 9-inch pan.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Whisk them together.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk, oil, vanilla, and water. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Fill each pan half way through with the batter. Top each pan with a pear half. If you are baking the cake in a larger pan, arrange the pear halves in a circle.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Serve the cake with a sprinkling of confectioner's sugar or ice cream if desired.