Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Cake + Maple Cream
Flourless chocolate hazelnut pear cake is made with freshly ground hazelnuts, rich dark chocolate, and juicy red pears. Served with lightly whipped maple cream and topped with a dash of cinnamon.
I have noticed that Halloween stores have taken up vacancy in abandoned super-marts around town, which can only mean one thing. It’s that time of year where humans of the northern hemisphere are season-divided! Half of the population wants summer to last forever. And then there are the *correct* people who need autumn. (It me. I need). I know it’s basic to love autumn, but I don’t currrrrr. Autumn is the best!
Plus, it’s not that I’m trying to push summer out so much that I’m just tired of being sweaty. Because I definitely have not enjoyed the summer months quite as much as I would like to. There are so many beach days I would like to savor. Floating days that have yet to happen. BBQs I have not yet BBQ-ed. But, considering I spend most of my days staring at a laptop, I’m over the summer season. It’s hot AF and I’m tired of sweating my slacks off when I walk to the coffeeshop from my office every morning.
But in the end, it doesn’t matter which team you’re on, because autumn hath arriveth! In typical Reno fashion, the temperature dropped literally overnight. One day, we were wearing sandals, the next day we were wearing sweaters. C’est la vie. But, the biggest sign of autumn’s arrival for me? The pears on my parents’ trees have filled out and ripened!!
Chocolate hazelnut pear cake is great for transitioning from summer to autumn.
The red pears that grow on my parents’ trees are absolutely amazing. They are juicy and sweet and the most gorgeous reddish-pink color you’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, the pear tree itself is situated on the side of a literal canyon, so you have to be into extreme sports in order to gather an appropriate amount for a galette or cake. But, if you’re willing, the risk of falling down a rocky, thorny hill is worth it. I also like to think it makes the pears taste more special. That’s a thing, right??
However, what I love most about pears is that they’re the perfect fruit for transitioning from summer to autumn. The melons and berries are starting to get watery and bland, but I’m just not feeling the pumpkin spice in early September, ya feel? Pears are light and delicate like so many of the summer produce I love. But they also get me in the mood for warmth and coziness that autumn produce brings.
This chocolate hazelnut pear cake was initially inspired by Torta Caprese, an Italian cake made with lots of chocolate and almonds or walnuts. But Marc is very allergic to almonds, and honestly, I like hazelnuts better anyways. Luckily, it totally werked. Chocolate hazelnut pear cake tastes like Nutella if Nutella were good. It’s rich and comforting without being too heavy. And it satisfies the needs of chocolate and fruit-lovers alike. Hooray!
Let’s make hazelnut flour, it’s so easy!
Since hazelnut flour is usually vvv expensive, I decided to make my own for this chocolate hazelnut pear cake. And guess what? Making nut flour is so damn easy! I don’t think I’ll buy it ever again. It seriously takes like, 30 seconds so long as you have a food processor or a good blender. However, store-bought is just as good if you’re not in the mood for making your own.
But, if you are up for the challenge, just throw some hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse away! You’ll need approximately one cup of nuts for every cup of flour. I also read once that technically blanched nuts = nut flour and non-blanched nuts = nut meal. But whatever. I’m not taking the peel off of hundreds of tiny hazelnuts. 🤷
A few tips for making chocolate hazelnut pear cake
I personally use a scale when I make chocolate hazelnut pear cake. It has a rather delicate constitution, so it’s just easier for me. But I also included the imperial measurements for my fellow Americans in case you don’t have a scale or just don’t want to use one.
For aesthetic purposes, I halved three pears and placed them on top of the chocolate hazelnut pear cake because…pretty. If you don’t love the idea of biting into whole pears, try chopping the pears into chunks and sprinkling them on top! It will still look gorg but have a more even pear-to-cake distribution.
Oh and the best part! This cake has no leavening agents, which means you can make it high-altitude with no alterations. I’m sooo excited about it. However, I haven’t tried it over 5,000 feet so maybe it does need adjustments at higher alts? Please advise if you know.
That’s all for now, enjoy!!
Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Cake with Maple Cream
Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Cake
Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Cake
- 175 g (1 1/2 c.) hazelnuts
- 170 g (6 oz.) good-quality dark chocolate (I use 72%)
- 170 g (3/4 c.) unsalted butter
- 150 g (3/4 c.) sugar
- 4 large eggs, room-temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3 pears, cored and halved
- Powdered sugar, for sprinkling
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Cinnamon, for sprinkling
Chocolate Hazelnut Pear Cake
- Grease and line a 9-10 in. (23-25 cm) springform cake pan with parchment paper. (If you don’t have a springform pan, you can use a regular cake pan, but it will be more difficult to remove the cake). Preheat the oven to 325° F (163° C).
- Place the hazelnuts in a food processor (or high-powered blender) and pulse until the hazelnuts are finely ground. Scrape the sides a couple times to ensure the flour is evenly ground. Make sure not to pulse it too much, or it will turn into hazelnut butter! Set aside.
- Break the chocolate into pieces, and place it in a medium-sized, heat-proof bowl with the unsalted butter. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water, and stir constantly with a wood spoon until the chocolate-butter mixture is completely melted and smooth. Don’t overheat, or the chocolate may seize.
- Remove the bowl from the heat, add the sugar and hazelnut flour to the chocolate-butter mixture, and stir until completely mixed. Ensure the mixture is mixed very well or the butter may separate in the oven! Set aside to cool to room-temperature.
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites. In a small bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff and shiny (but not dry). Add the egg yolks to the chocolate hazelnut batter, one at a time, until completely mixed. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Then, gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate hazelnut batter until no longer streaky.
- Pour the chocolate hazelnut batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top. Place the pear halves on top (or chop the pears and sprinkle them over the top). Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is dry and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs. The pears may make the cake appear under-baked, but be careful not to cook it for too long, or it will get dry. 35 minutes was perfect for my oven.
- Let the cake cool completely in the pan. Remove the cake from the pan, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with maple cream and cinnamon.
- Add the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and maple syrup to a clean bowl. Beat until lightly whipped. Dollop over cake slices!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Fancy Shoes by The Walters