Flourless chocolate & pear cake

Flourless chocolate & pear cake

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(62 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 40 mins

More effort

Serves 8
A light, but luscious cake made with hazelnuts - serve a slice for dessert with a dollop of crème fraîche

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten-free

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal334
  • fat23g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs28g
  • sugars28g
  • fibre0g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.28g
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  • 85g butter, plus 1 tbsp extra for tin



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 85g golden caster sugar, plus extra for tin
  • 85g gluten-free dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1 tbsp brandy



    Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…

  • 3 egg, separated



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 85g hazelnut, toasted and ground in a food processor



    Grown in Europe and the US, hazelnuts are encased in a smooth, hard brown shell but are most…

  • 4 very ripe pear, peeled, halved and cored



    Like apples, to which they are related, pears come in thousands of varieties, of which only a…

  • icing sugar, for dusting


  1. Cut a circle of baking parchment to fit the base of a 25cm loose-bottomed tin. Melt 1 tbsp butter and brush the inside of the tin, then line the base with the parchment and brush again with more butter. Spoon in 2 tbsp caster sugar, swirl it around to coat the base and sides, then tip out any excess.

  2. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of hot water, remove from the heat, stir in the brandy and leave to cool. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick; fold into the chocolate with the hazelnuts.

  3. In a separate bowl, with a clean whisk, beat the whites until they reach a soft peak (try not to whisk them too stiffly or you’ll have trouble folding them in). Stir a spoonful of the whites into the chocolate mix, then carefully fold in the rest of them in 2 additions. Spoon into the prepared tin. Level, then arrange the pears over the mixture, cut-side down. Bake for 40 mins until the pears are soft and the cake is cooked all the way through. Leave to cool in the tin slightly before releasing it, then place on a rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar and serve with crème fraîche.

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Comments (93)

salbal's picture

Made this last night. Used shop bought ground almonds which worked fine. Added pears at the beginning and they didn't sink. Also used a 23cm tin rather than 25cm as in recipe which would lead to a very thin cake I think. My husband and daughter had several helpings! Will definitely be making this again.

manuelastrametz's picture

Love it. Absolutely fluffy and moist. Didn't prebake the cake before putting in the pears so yes they sunk in, but I personally don't mind that so much. I can imagine it would work with any kind of fruit and different kinds of nuts.

sargyle's picture

Can anybody tell me please if the oven temp of 180 fan is correct? I've never seen a fan setting that's higher than the regular oven setting.

lilaclozenge's picture

180 is for the regular oven, 160 is for the fan oven hth :)

needbe's picture

Delicious, light dessert cake. I used ground almonds for convenience, slightly browned in a dry pan, and substituted the brandy for amaretto. The only thing I would question is the size of tin suggested. I used a 23 cm tin, and that was fine. Any larger, and I feel the cake may have been too flat.

mimsy1's picture

This was lovely. I used amaretto instead of brandy and raspberries instead of pears and put the raspberries in straight away. They didn't sink and the whole thing was lovely. It was for a dinner party for GF person and 3 non-GF and all enjoyed it. Will definitely be making again. So quick and easy too.

emmaleg's picture

I made this with ground almonds, left out the brandy and used honey instead of sugar (the same amount) as I'm trying to go for healthier forms of sugar! I also cut the pear into slices and had no problem with sinking. I felt it only needed 3 pears, not 4. It was a lovely pudding cake, best served warm and with some cream or ice cream. Would definitely make again but I will be trying hazelnuts next time and perhaps raspberries instead of pears.

RachMck14's picture

I am making this cake for the second time today. It is delicious. I leave out the pears completely, replace the hazelnuts with ground almonds as others suggest and use a rubber cake mould so the cake pops out easily when baked. Serve with raspberries and ice cream. A total crowd pleaser!

marychef's picture

It's in the oven and the pears just dropped to the bottom when I put them in. Do I need to worry or just pass it off with my usual flair?

MegJ's picture

Secret Pear cake? Yum.

maj5678's picture

It's a lovely rich moist chocolate cake. It was rising lovely then I took out to add the pears after 8mins as suggested and it deflated and was quite flat and over done around the edges even though I took it out a couple of mins early. Would make again but put pears in at the start and take out after 35mins.

smopey's picture

Loved this. Incredibly rich, I also used a smaller tin but that was fine. I was more than happy with it's appearance so wouldn't bother baking the cake for a short while before adding pears. Great to find a gluten free recipe that doesn't taste like a compromise.

felicityhm's picture

I think all your comments about baking it for 10 minutes first so the pears won't sink are very useful. In the picture though, it does apepar that they are sunken, so I guess it is just a personal choice as to what effect your are trying to achieve.

emmaj4's picture

Really lovely and quite easy. Mine sunk to my disappointment, but I suspect this was my fault rather than the recipe! Although the recipe warns against making the egg whites too stiff by whisking, I would encourage you to make them firm as I think this will help the cake stay up! I'd also leave the cake in the oven to cool to avoid sinking in the future. I waited for the cake to cook for 15 minutes before dropping the pears onto the top - this stopped them sinking. Even though the cake deflated somewhat, it was still delicious and wonderful served with ice cream! Thanks!

Nash's picture

Delicious! I took this cake around to a family dinner for dessert. It went down really well with creme fraiche. I also replaced the hazelnuts by ground almonds and for texture added in some chopped almonds in the mix before pouring it in a 24cm tart tin. I replaced the pears with tinned pears which worked out absolutely fine. However, I baked the cake for 8 min before arranging the pears on top of the cake. They didn't sink...came out beautifully. Next time, I would like to poach some pears in vanilla before adding them in! I thought the amount of sugar was good as well, not overly sweet. This recipe is a keeper!

franette's picture

Delicious! Strong chocolate taste but very light! I just bought plain ground hazelnuts and it turned out well.

jenniferocious's picture

Really nice and easier than I thought it would be. Will be are regular bake for me from now on.

stellacsg's picture

Made this tonight and followed the recipe mostly - changes made: I used a pie tin which was approx. 22cm (instead of the 25cm cake tin) and also followed the suggestions of others - I put the cake in the oven to cook and then proceeded to prepare the pears (peel, core and halve) which took about 7-8 minutes, at which point I placed the pears on the cake and had no issues with sunk pears. It turned out perfectly (other than the pears being a little squished together due to the smaller tin..)

isadoradumpling's picture

This is a bit of a faff. I will do this on occasions such as Xmas or Easter but it will not become an every month feature unless it works with my cheating ways!
I try these recipes with whole eggs whisked well and most of them are successful and so I will once again, outrage any chefs out there but I am not one and I need time not kudos. It is not my career path. Ordinary mortals simply wish to produce reasonably decorative but infinitely palatable food. Sorry chefs!

jnduggan's picture

A great pud and very easy! I think the tin size is important on here...I'm glad I read the previous reviews, got a 25" tin and used a paper liner and it was divine...smooth, rich, chocolatey and delicious!


Questions (3)

maryyoung's picture

Can this be made a day ahead?

needbe's picture

I don't see why not, as long as you warm it up slightly in the oven before serving.

BeckyOP's picture

Is it possible to freeze this cake?

Tips (1)

lb02252's picture

My suggestions for this recipe would be:
1. Use baking powder. There's none in the recipe and my cake was only a couple of centimetres high.
2. Use brandy rather than amaretto. I used Amaretto which made it too almondy (but then I did use ground almonds rather than hazelnuts).