The lightest flourless chocolate cake with ground almonds and soft ripe pears is all you’ll ever need when the cravings for chocolate get out of control. Gluten-free, this cake is made with toasted ground almonds and gets a beautiful rise from the whisked egg whites. A wonderful pear dessert to make for a special occasion! We will certainly be making this Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Pears over Christmas!
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Forget Dry and Flavourless Chocolate Cake
A chocolate cake is not something we’d order from a menu. Ever. Not that we don’t like chocolate. Quite the opposite, really: we’ve been known to devour a whole bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk with Daim in one sitting.
But a good chocolate cake is difficult to come across. Sometimes too dry, sometimes made with cocoa powder only and therefore not chocolatey enough, and sometimes ruined by greasy synthetic-tasting frosting.
This cake is nothing like that. It is moist, it is dark and it is light in texture with slightly crunchy caramelised sides. What is more, ripe pears are a beautiful addition to cut through all the chocolatey richness of the cake.
This recipe isn’t one of our own. We’ve adapted Barney Desmazery’s original recipe for a Flourless Chocolate & Pear Cake. The recipe is wonderful as it is, but we’ve made it simpler by using widely available ground almonds and no alcohol.
You will need a total of 6 ingredients to make this delicious chocolate pear cake. You can find the full recipe and quantities in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- unsalted butter: ideally European-style butter that has a higher fat content.
- caster sugar: also known as superfine sugar.
- dark chocolate: broken into pieces. Dark chocolate chunks will be melted and mixed into the cake batter, so you may use chocolate buttons, chocolate chips or simply a chocolate bar.
- eggs: we use medium eggs in the UK, and we recommend using large eggs in the US. Ideally, you need each egg to weigh approx. 55-60g in their shell.
- ground almonds: also known as almond flour or almond meal. Whilst there are slight differences among these three almond products, using either of them will provide great results and nutty flavors.
- pears: read all about the best type of pear to use in this recipe below. One important thing to note is that you want your pears just ripe. Underripe pears won’t soften in time, and overripe pears will turn very mushy and unpleasant.
You may also choose to use some icing sugar (powdered sugar) for decoration and creme fraiche or ice cream to serve the cake with.
It’s All About The Pears
We absolutely love pear desserts and cakes. I actually like pears better than apples, especially around Christmas Time! We love sweet Gingerbread French Toast with Caramelised Pears for a perfect breakfast, a nice Pear Mince Pie for a midmorning snack, and a Rocket and Pear Salad (recipe coming soon) as an appetizer for Christmas lunch… Well, you get the idea! We love pears.
For this Chocolate Pear Cake, the choice of pear is crucial. You want ripe juicy pears that are firm enough to hold their shape after baking, but that will soften enough inside the cake without releasing too much juice.
- We tested this cake with Conference pears, Anjou pears and Bosc pears – and they will all work in this recipe as long as they are ripe.
- If you cannot get your hands on fresh pears, try this gluten-free chocolate cake with tinned pears. Make sure to dab them with a paper towel to remove extra moisture first. The texture will be softer, but the cake will still taste delicious.
Step 1: Prepare the Cake Tin
To start, prepare your 18cm (7in) springform cake tin. Grease both the sides and the bottom of the tin. Then stick a circle of baking parchment paper on the bottom of the tin and grease the baking parchment. Tip in a tablespoon of caster sugar and swish it around so it sticks to both the greased sides and the bottom of the springform tin.
Finally, preheat the oven to 160 C Fan.
Step 2: Toast the Ground Almonds
The recipe requires you to toast ground almonds. I’ve tried making this by using untoasted almonds and the cake still tasted gorgeous. But toasting the nuts adds another layer of flavour. The cake will taste richer and nuttier if you do. I like to toast the almonds just lightly until they just start to turn golden. Then transfer the almonds into a large bowl to prevent further browning and help them cool quickly.
Step 3: Make The Chocolate Cake with Ground Almonds
Break up dark chocolate (if you are baking for coeliacs, make sure to buy gluten-free chocolate – you’d be surprised how many aren’t). Melt your butter and chocolate in a microwave or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Set it aside.
In a separate large mixing bowl, using a handheld electric whisk, beat egg yolks and caster sugar on high speed until very pale and increased in volume. When your melted chocolate mixture has cooled down slightly, mix it into the yolks. Then carefully fold in the toasted ground almonds.
In another bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks using a handheld electric mixer (or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment). In three instalments carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate cake batter, taking care not to knock too much air out. It’s a delicate process. But it results in a well-risen, very light-textured cake. Pour the cake mixture into a prepared tin.
Step 4: Arrange the Pears
Your cake batter is ready. All you need to do is arrange your pear halves on top. Core, halve and peel your pears. I like arranging them in a circle around the outer edge on top of the cake, cut side down. Don’t press them into the cake batter, they should naturally sink whilst the cake bakes. What is more, you need enough pears to go around the cake. 3 large pears typically cover us, but if you are using smaller pears, you may need 3.5 or 4 pears.
Step 5: Bake
Place the cake in a preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. Then leave the pear chocolate cake to cool down in its springform pan for 15 minutes, before releasing it and carefully transferring it onto a serving plate. This Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake is simply wonderful served warm!
What To Serve Chocolate Pear Cake With?
This chocolate dessert cake with pears is wonderful served warm with a dollop of either:
- Creme Fraiche
- Greek Yoghurt
- Vanilla Ice Cream
- Lightly whipped cream
Leftovers and Storage
If you have leftovers, make sure to cool the cake down to room temperature. Then cover it with an upside-down bowl or plate it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. You may reheat individual slices of this chocolate pear cake for 15-20 seconds in the microwave, and serve warm with cream or yogurt.
Unfortunately, we do not recommend freezing this gluten-free chocolate cake. As you thaw it, the pears release too much moisture, and the cake becomes extremely wet and soggy as a result.
Other Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes
We hope you enjoyed this chocolate pear cake recipe. For other Gluten-Free desserts and bakes, have a look at:
- 10-Minute Coconut Yogurt Desserts
- Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins (Gluten Free Recipe)
- Gluten-Free Almond Cookies (Mandelmakronen)
- Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies
- Roasted Pineapple with Spiced Caramel and Creme Fraiche
- Pecan Praline & Banana Parfait
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake With Pears
- 85 g unsalted butter + 1tsp for greasing
- 85 g caster sugar + 1 tablespoon for the tin
- 85 g dark chocolate broken into small pieces
- 3 medium eggs separated
- 85 g ground almonds
- 3 ripe pears peeled, halved and cored
- icing sugar for decoration
- creme fraiche to serve (optional)
- Line the base of an 18cm (7in) springform cake tin with a circle of baking parchment. Grease the top of the baking parchment and the sides of the tin with butter. Then tip a tablespoon of caster sugar in and swirl it around so that sugar sticks to the greased tin all around.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C Fan.
- In a large frying pan, toast your ground almonds just until lightly browned and aromatic. Remove from the pan immediately to prevent further toasting, and leave to cool completely.
- Place butter and broken up dark chocolate in a microwave-safe dish. Melt in the microwave in short bursts, mixing in between, until all melted.
- In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy using an electric handheld mixer. Fold the cooled chocolate and butter mixture into the yolks. Then fold in the toasted almonds.
- In a separate large bowl whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Very carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture in three installments. Try to not knock too much air out.
- Spoon the cake mix into the prapared cake tin. Then arrange the peeled and cored pear halves cut side down. Don't press them down, they will sink naturally whilst cooking.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. The cake should be cooked through, but soft in the middle. Leave it to cook for 15 minutes before releasing from the tin. Dust with icing sugar.
- We like serving it warm with a dollop of creme fraiche. It is also great cold the next day, or you can reheat by placing it in the microwave for 20 seconds per piece.