Deliciously Autumnal Gluten Free Pear and Chocolate Cake. Packed with fruit, super-chocolatey with a moist, bordering on gooey sponge and topped with rich chocolate icing. Optional dairy free.
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Originally posted 7th June 2014. Updated 31st August 2022
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Why make a gluten free Pear and Chocolate Cake?
THIS is my gluten free Pear and Chocolate Cake recipe… It’s absolutely yummy. And perhaps not a combination you would automatically think of. However, I absolutely recommend giving it a try. Because pears take chocolate cake into a new league. It’s a marriage made in heaven… Not just because the flavours are divinely paired, but because the addition of the pear to the sponge brings a wonderfully fruity moistness… So, the sponge is melty, a little gooey and delicious.
If you are familiar with the recipes at Gluten Free Alchemist, you will know that pairing chocolate with fruit is something I love to do. Indeed, we already have a handful of other chocolate-pear recipes on the blog…. From Autumn Pear and Walnut Brownies, to an amazing Chocolate Torte with Walnut and Pear…. And even a Healthy Chocolate Granola with Cherry, Pear and Pecan. And yes… They’re all unbelievably gluten free!
But this particular Pear and Chocolate Cake is to die for… More than worth a little scrumping, foraging or the trip to the supermarket…
What ingredients are needed to make Gluten Free Pear and Chocolate Cake?
There’s nothing particularly unusual in this Pear and Chocolate Cake. But the ingredients are combined to create a sponge that you would never know is gluten free. Here’s what you need…
The dry mix
- Gluten Free Flour Blend – This must be a balanced blend of gluten free flours… Individual gluten free flours (such as rice flour or buckwheat flour) are not suitable on their own for this recipe. I used my Gluten Free Alchemist white blend A (which can be found at the bottom of my ‘What is Gluten Free Flour?’ Page). However, alternative good gluten free flour blends (such as Doves Freee Plain White) will work fine.
- Ground Almonds – which offer structure, moisture and a lightly nutty texture to the sponge.
- Cocoa Powder – For chocolate depth and flavour!
- Xanthan Gum – (just a little)… To bind and hold the ingredients together so that the sponge doesn’t immediately crumble. If you can’t tolerate xanthan gum, replace with 2 tsp ground/powdered psyllium husk.
- Salt – to enhance flavour
- Baking Powder – For rise and lightness
The wet mix
- Butter (or a comparable dairy free block alternative)
- Brown Sugar – Either soft light brown or Coconut Sugar. Although you can use standard caster sugar, using brown and less refined sugars offers a better depth of flavour and gorgeous caramel undertones.
- Maple Syrup (or alternative liquid sugar) – For flavour, moisture and shelf life.
- Eggs – Specifically two UK Large sized eggs. Remember that eggs around the world are sized differently. So, if unsure of how UK large compares to eggs where you are, check out my Egg Size and Weight International Comparison Chart.
- Vanilla Extract – For flavour
- Apple Juice – For moisture and extra fruitiness
- Fresh Pears – Peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
- Plain Chocolate
- Butter (dairy or non-dairy)
- Icing Sugar
- Milk (dairy or non-dairy)
What are the best pears for making Pear and Chocolate Cake?
Literally ANY pears are perfect for making Pear and Chocolate Cake. Any variety, shape, size or colour. Home-grown, foraged, bought or wind-fallen… As long as they are an edible variety! And apparently that’s over 500 options (according to the Brogdale National Fruit Collection in the UK).
To make it as accurate as possible (and so that you won’t have too little or too much pear in the cake if yours vary in size), I’ve given the weight of fruit AFTER it has been skinned and cored in the recipe.
Is this Gluten Free Pear and Chocolate Cake safe for people with Coeliac Disease?
Yes. Providing the sponge is made with a gluten free flour blend and all the other ingredients used are certified gluten free, then my Pear and Chocolate Cake is perfectly safe for people with Coeliac Disease (Celiac).
As always, it is important to check all ingredient labels for any risk from hidden gluten. Baking powder and chocolate in particular can be a cross-contamination source. If unsure about label checking or unexpected gluten, you’ll find plenty of information on my page Coeliac Disease + Food.
Can I make this cake dairy free as well as gluten free?
Yes again! This cake has been tested with dairy free ingredients and is just as delicious. Simply substitute the butter (in both the sponge and icing) for a good dairy free BLOCK alternative (such as Stork Baking Block or Flora Baking Block). And use dairy free dark chocolate and milk in the icing. Simples!
As with gluten risk however, be sure to double-check labels for hidden dairy. The cocoa powder in particular needs to be pure.
Do I need any special equipment to make a Chocolate Pear Cake?
No. If you are a regular baker, you will already likely have what you need. Either way, here are the basics…
- An 8 inch (20 cm) (or 9 inch (23 cm)) round cake tin, which is about 3 inches in depth. I use Masterclass cake tins… (8 inch version). Or this one for a shallower, wider 9 inch version.
- Good quality baking paper (I swear by Lakeland Baking Parchment).
- Some reliable digital kitchen scales… Essential in any baker’s kitchen.
- A set of Mixing Bowls.
- A sharp knife for preparing the pears.
- Measuring spoons.
- A sturdy, well-powered electric whisk. I have a fabulous (absolutely recommended) KitchenAid Whisk.
- Flexible mixing spoon or spatula for mixing, folding and scraping. One of my all-time favourite kitchen gadgets is this Zing Spoon-Spatula.
- An oven
- A wire rack
How to serve Pear and Chocolate Cake
My Gluten Free Pear and Chocolate Cake needs no dressing up. It’s divine served warm or cold with its simple chocolate icing decoration. However… If you want to make it a full-on dessert, it is also utterly delicious with cream (runny, whipped or clotted). Or served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or silky custard.
How to store this cake
Pear and Chocolate Cake can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. Longer than this (particularly in a warm environment) and I would advise storing in the fridge (as the pear may start to deteriorate). If the cake has been placed in the fridge, I recommend allowing it to come back to room temperature before serving (for best texture and softness).
In the fridge, the sponge will last 3 to 4 days (although it is always devoured long before).
The sponge can be frozen in a sealed bag for 2 to 3 months. However, this MUST be before it has been iced as the icing will not freeze well. Thus, defrost the cake and add the chocolate icing just before serving!
Ready to make my gluten free Pear and Chocolate Cake recipe?
I hope you love this recipe… which you will find just below (scroll a little further). I’ve given you a printable recipe card to make life as easy as possible. Please let me know if you make it and how it turns out for you… Leave a comment, rate the recipe or tag me on social media with your beautiful cake photos. I honestly love seeing your creations. It spurs me on to make more yummy recipes for you all. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
And if you haven’t found it already, check out our massive Gluten Free Recipe Index. We share everything we do in an easy-to-navigate on-line recipe book, because it would be incredibly selfish to keep such great recipes to ourselves. And even better… Everything is shared for FREE.
With my love
Other Recipes pairing Dark Chocolate with Fruit
Pear and Chocolate Cake (gluten free)
- sharp vegetable knife
- microwave or hob and saucepan
- flat-bladed knife
Pear and Chocolate Sponge
- 180 g gluten free plain flour blend I use GFA Blend A (see NOTES), but an alternative flour blend will work fine.
- 40 g ground almonds (almond meal)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum (or 2 tsp psyllium husk)
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp baking powder gluten free
- 30 g cocoa powder
- 125 g unsalted butter (or comparable block dairy free alternative) softened
- 125 g soft light brown sugar (or coconut sugar for extra flavour depth)
- 50 g maple syrup
- 2 large eggs room temperature – UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp apple juice
- 250 g fresh ripe pears weight after they are peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
- 90 g plain chocolate broken into pieces
- 25 g unsalted butter (or comparable block dairy free alternative)
- 90 g icing sugar sifted
- 1½ to 2 tbsp milk dairy or non-dairy
Decoration – optional
- pistachios chopped or slithered.
Pear and Chocolate Sponge
- Base-line an 8 inch (20 cm) round cake tin (3 inches (8 cm) deep). OR for a cake that is less deep but wider, use a 9 inch tin and bake for slightly less time).
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3.
- Weigh and mix together in a medium bowl the flour, almonds, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder and cocoa, making sure any lumps are completely broken down. TIP: Weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and maple syrup until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs (one at a time) and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients, juice and chopped pear to the mixture and gently fold until evenly mixed.
- Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and smooth the surface so that it is even.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the cake is ‘set’ and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave in the cake tin for 5 to 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Place the chocolate and butter into a small bowl and melt together either over a small pan of simmering water, or in the microwave on 30 second bursts (medium setting) stirring frequently.
- Remove from the heat and add the SIFTED icing sugar and milk (a drop at a time so that the icing is runny enough to spread and gently drip, but not so watery that it doesn't 'hold' or set).
- Beat until fully combined, smooth and silky.
- Immediately spread onto the cake and sprinkle with chopped pistachios (if using) for decoration.
- Leave the cake to cool, or serve while still lightly warm and gooey with icing.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist