This pear and chocolate cake is the perfect flavour combination.
The sweetness of the pears goes perfectly with the slight bitterness of the dark chocolate. Our pear and chocolate cake is different from other fruit cakes though, as it doesn’t rise. Unlike our classic chocolate cake, it’s made with ground almonds in a round flan tin, meaning it doesn’t contain any flour and so is gluten-free too. Serve up a slice of this pear and chocolate cake for dessert, with a dollop of creme fraiche on the side and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.
- 100g butter, plus extra for greasing
- 100g caster sugar, plus extra for tin
- 100g bar dark chocolate, chopped
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 4 ripe pears
- 100g packet ground almonds
- 2tbsp apricot glaze or sieved apricot jam
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- 23cm deep, fluted flan tin
- Baking parchment
To make this chocolate cake, set the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Butter the flan tin and put a disc of baking parchment in the base. Spoon in a little sugar and use it to coat the inside of the tin, then tip out the excess.
Melt the butter and chocolate together, in a bowl over a pan of hot water or in a microwave oven. Leave it to cool slightly, but don’t allow it to reset.
Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is thick and creamy and a trail can be seen in the mixture when the whisk is lifted up. This is easiest done using a tabletop mixer, as it can take 5-10 mins, so it’s a long time to be holding a hand-held whisk.
To prepare the pears, peel them with a vegetable peeler and then halve them. Use a melon baller, or a teaspoon, to scoop out the pips in the centre.
Fold the melted chocolate mixture and ground almonds into the whisked egg-yolk mixture.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they’re stiff. Fold a couple of tablespoons of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, to loosen it.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl with the egg whites; pour it to one side of the egg whites rather than in the centre, to avoid knocking out too much of the air from the egg whites.
Fold both mixtures together, using a large metal spoon, or a spatula, taking care not to overwork it or the air will be lost and the sponge won’t rise as much.
Pour the mixture into the tin; hold the bowl just above the tin while pouring — again, so that the air isn’t lost from the mixture.
Arrange the pear halves on top, with the cut-side down. Bake cake in the centre of the oven for 45 mins to 1 hour, or until it’s set in the centre and the mixture doesn’t wobble. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring it to a wire rack.
While the cake is still hot, warm the apricot glaze or jam and brush it over the top. Dredge the cake with icing sugar just before serving. It may be served warm or at room temperature.
Tips for making pear and chocolate cake:
For a really intense contrast of flavours, make sure to get 90% dark chocolate.
If you don't have a table-top mixer, place the bowl with the egg yolks and sugar over a pan of warm water and use a hand whisk. The warmth will help the mixture to thicken quicker
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