Flourless chocolate & pear cake

Flourless chocolate & pear cake

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(67 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
    Dark chocolate soup pots with double cream in spoons

    Dark chocolate

    dahk chok-lit

    Dark chocolate means the shiny, dark-reddish brown treat produced from the cacao bean, theobroma…

  • 1 tbsp brandy



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

  • 3 eggs, 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 pears, 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, questions and tips

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21st Mar, 2015
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?
31st Aug, 2015
Secret Pear cake? Yum.
8th Nov, 2014
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.
4th Nov, 2014
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.
15th May, 2014
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.
23rd Feb, 2014
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!
10th Nov, 2013
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!
6th Nov, 2013
Delicious! Strong chocolate taste but very light! I just bought plain ground hazelnuts and it turned out well.
1st Nov, 2013
Really nice and easier than I thought it would be. Will be are regular bake for me from now on.
29th Jun, 2013
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..)


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