The minute I saw the beautiful full-bottomed pears at the organics store, I thought that while wonderful as-is, they were going to be so much better with chocolate. Most things are. This Flourless Dark Chocolate and Pear Cake boasts sweetly cooked pear slivers nestled within a dark chocolate infused almond cake crumb. Yes, most things are better with chocolate.
I am not much of a baker. I love it but I have never had a particular knack for it; getting this dessert to a successful recipe took FIVE attempts. To add insult, this flourless dark chocolate and pear cake is a completely different dessert to the original idea. The sugar-coated lining is that I now also have a decadent pear and dark chocolate brownie recipe up my sleeve.
Despite my ineptitude, I value the precision and process in baking. Sometimes I need to simply mute the chaos, put on some music and bake. I think we all need that thing, whether we are good at it or not, that allows us to feel the floor under our feet and stills the mind in order to focus on one task at a time. In baking we measure, we melt, we whisk, we pour. It is a delicious exercise in slowing down and just being.
This week has indeed been a week of chaos and unbalance. The Elf is at her challenging best, the Dane is itching places I didn’t even know she could reach, my credit card was stolen and the Husband has been away. Within this micro-tornado, we remembered my beloved grandmother on what would have been her ninety-eighth birthday, the first since her passing. So, it is with bare feet planted on the kitchen floor that I catch my breath and bake a cake for my Nan; a birthday cake perhaps, one best served with a strong cup of tea.
This flourless dark chocolate and pear cake was inspired by a ginger apple cake I used to bake many moons ago. Gorgeous soft slivers of pear nestle within an almond cake crust that just hints at the dark chocolate hiding within. The flavours work so wonderfully together with the warmth and slight bitterness of the chocolate offsetting the sweet pears perfectly. Wonderfully moist with a slight crispness to the outer crust, this bittersweet pear cake is the perfect dessert to share over a cuppa with someone you love. Or thinking of someone you love.
Happy Birthday, Nancy Eileen. x
Flourless Dark Chocolate and Pear Cake
Yield 10 serves
This vegan Flourless Dark Chocolate and Pear Cake boasts sweetly cooked pear slivers nestled within a dark chocolate infused almond cake crumb.
- 160 grams almond meal
- 135 grams almonds
- 1.25 tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 2 flax eggs (2 tbs ground flaxseed or egg replacer and 6 tbs water)
- scant ½ cup aquafaba
- 140 grams raw caster sugar
- 75 ml organic maple syrup
- 2 pears
- 75 grams dark chocolate
- 20 grams vegan butter
- 30 grams raw caster sugar
- pinch sea salt
- 2 pears
- 30 grams almonds, roughly chopped
- 50 grams melted vegan butter
- 30 grams sugar
- To prepare the cake, peel the pears core pears and cut them vertically in to 16 wedges. If you want a chunkier texture, only cut in to eighths. I have done both and they are both delicious.
- Melt the butter and sugar (30 grams) in a pan over low to medium heat and add the pears. Cook for 5 minutes or until just soft. When cooked, remove from the the heat and set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 160 C and line a 22 inch cake pan with baking paper.
- Pulse almond meal, almonds, dark chocolate, salt, and baking powder together in a processor to a rough crumb.
- Using an electric mixer, whip the aquafaba to a thick, glossy consistency, around 3 minutes.
- While still beating, slowly add the sugar and maple syrup and finally the flax eggs. The mixture will deflate but will still be thick. Beat for another two minutes.
- Add the nut mixture and cooled pears and fold to combine.
- Pour the cake mixture in to the prepared cake pan.
- To make the topping, core the pears from the bottom using a melon baller. This is decorative, so if you don't have a melon baller, halve the pears, remove the core and slice the pear in to thin slices.
- Slice the pear in to thin slices vertically and arrange over the top of the cake. Sprinkle over the chopped almonds and pour over the melted butter. Finally, sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a skewer comes away clean. Bear in mind this cake is super moist with fruit.
- Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan to serve.
- Serve with a good dollop of coconut yoghurt.
Aquafaba is the brine suspending the beans in cans of chickpeas and white beans and the like. When beaten the liquid will whip to stiff peaks similar to egg whites.
For a chunkier dessert with more texture, only cut the pears in to eighths.