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A dense, chocolaty (and gluten-free) chocolate pear cake, baked with wine-poached pears.
I usually take my chocolate straight-up, thank you very much.
But this chocolate pear cake pushes all the right buttons. Not only is it easy to make, the combo of silky wine-poached fruit with dark chocolate is a winner.
The base cake recipe is a classic French-style flourless cake, intensely chocolaty and moist.
It’s made with almond flour instead of wheat flour, the texture of the cake is just as rich and fudgy as you could wish for.
Why bother to make a chocolate cake with pears when you could just keep it simple and make a plain old chocolate cake? I asked myself the same question.
When I first saw this cake I was smitten. I became a little obsessed with the idea of tasting melt-in-your-mouth, tangy-sweet pear at the same time as a bite of rich chocolate cake.
After poaching my pears in wine and making my own version of the cake, I did just that — and the experience was not disappointing.
The pear slices sink into the batter as the cake bakes, forming little pockets of chocolate goo around each one.
It’s a simple detail that turns out to be seriously sensual and delicious.
Enjoy this cake as the capper to a relaxed dinner, or daytime snack with good coffee.
Flourless Chocolate Pear Cake
Yield: One 9-inch cake
For the poached pears:
- 2 semi-ripe pears, Bartlett or Bosc, peeled
- 1 cup (250 ml) fruity white wine, such as moscato or riesling
- ¾ cup (180 g) sugar
- ¾ cup (185 ml) water
For the cake:
- 6 ounces (175 g) chopped dark chocolate
- 8 tablespoons (113 g) butter (1 stick), cut into tablespoon-size pieces
- ½ cup (120 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (56 g) almond flour
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 large eggs, separated
- Unsweetened cocoa powder or confectioner’s sugar, for serving
To make the pears
- Slice the pears in half in remove the cores. Stir the wine, sugar and water together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the pears and cook until they're tender when pierced, about 25 minutes. Cool. (The pears can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate in the syrup).
To make the cake
- Preheat oven to 350 (175 C) degrees with the rack in the center. Grease an 8 or 9-inch springform pan.
- Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering (not boiling) water. When the chocolate is almost melted, add the butter and stir until it melts. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, almond flour and salt. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly, then stir in the egg yolks.
- Whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until they form stiff peaks. Fold the half the egg whites into the chocolate. Add the remaining whites and fold until no streaks are visible.
- Scrape the batter into the pan. Drain the pear halves (keep the syrup for another use). Slice each into thirds or quarters and arrange on top of the batter. Bake the cake 30 – 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cake 10 minutes on a rack, then release the pan sides and allow to cool completely.
- Dust the cake lightly with cocoa or confectioner’s sugar. Slice and serve.