Flourless chocolate & pear cake

Flourless chocolate & pear cake

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(65 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 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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22nd Jan, 2017
Definitely more of a pudding than a cake but delicious nonetheless. The roasted hazelnuts give a wonderful flavour. I think I would have whisked the egg whites till they were stiffer, despite being harder to fold in, because the mixture was a little bit too loose and stayed very moist even when cooked.
11th Oct, 2016
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.
28th Jul, 2016
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.
28th Jan, 2016
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.
6th Feb, 2016
180 is for the regular oven, 160 is for the fan oven hth :)
13th Nov, 2015
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.
9th Oct, 2015
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.
28th Sep, 2015
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.
9th May, 2015
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!
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?


10th Apr, 2017
Anyone tried this without sugar or with something natural like honey, maple or agave? Thank you
12th Nov, 2015
Can this be made a day ahead?
13th Nov, 2015
I don't see why not, as long as you warm it up slightly in the oven before serving.
22nd Dec, 2013
Is it possible to freeze this cake?
23rd Mar, 2014
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).