Dessert — Chocolate Pear Cake

First made in Bay of Islands, New Zealand, May, 2010

This is a deliciously moist brownie, topped with poached pears. It can be made with or without butter, and tastes wonderful both ways. I substitute applesauce and oil for the butter.


  • 5 Pears
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice or Vinegar or Orange Juice
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 4 oz (113 gms) unsalted butter at room temperatureor: 4 oz (113 gms) applesauce and 2 T Canola Oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated Sugar
  • 4 large Eggs at room temperature
  • 4 oz (113 gms) Dark Chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup all purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Almond Meal (finely ground almonds)
  • 4 Tb unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1-1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp granulated Sugar

Instructions for Poaching the Pears:

  1. Peel the pears, then cut in half lengthwise, and remove the core.
  2. Combine 1/2 cup Water with the 1 tsp Vinegar or juice.
  3. Place the Pear halves flat side down in a microwave-proof dish.
  4. Add the Water and Vinegar mixture.
  5. Cover with cling wrap, and microwave for 5 minutes on High. Or you can poach the pears in the liquid in a covered pan on the stove top, until tender but not mushy.
  6. Drain the pears and allow to cool.

Instructions for Making the Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175° C (350° F).
  2. Butter or oil a 9 or 10 inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. I sometimes use a round, silicone cake pan.
  3. Melt the Chocolate in the microwave for about 1 minute. Do not burn. Or melt the Chocolate in a double boiler. Allow to cool.
  4. Stir together the Flour, Almond Meal, Cocoa Powder, Baking Powder and Salt. Set aside.
  5. Beat the butter (or Applesauce and Canola Oil) with the sugar on medium speed in an electric mixer, or with a wire whisk by hand.
  6. Add the Eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  7. Add the melted Chocolate and stir or beat until combined.
  8. Add the Flour mixture and beat or stir for one minute, or until just combined.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
  10. Arrange the pear halves in a circle on the top of the batter, flat side down.
  11. Sprinkle the top of the pears with 1 tsp Sugar.
  12. Bake the cake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
  13. Cool the cake in its pan on a rack, until cool enough to handle, then remove it and place on a serving plate.

Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or thick plain yoghurt.



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