This gorgeous, sweet Chocolate Pear Upside Down Cake is not only surprisingly easy to make, but it’s also gluten-free.
I’ve been wanting to combine chocolate and pears in a cake for a very long time and I’m so happy to post this recipe for my Chocolate Pear Upside Down Cake that is moist and also flourless, making it perfect for any occasion. This is an easy cake to make with just two main components – the poached pears which are very quick and the cake batter itself.
What you’ll find in this post
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The flourless cakes on Sugar Salt Magic are very popular. Most notably my Flourless Lemon Cake but also my Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake. Both are wonderful and the latter was my basis for this recipe.
That means this cake is flourless, totally by accident. I actually love making flourless cakes. They are mysterious to me in the fact that they are moist and a little dense but also incredibly light. You don’t eat this and feel like you need to roll away.
What is an upside down cake?
Simply put an upside down cake is a cake that you turn out upside down once it is baked. Most normal cakes, the base remains the base even when you turn them out but with an upside down cake, you bake it then flip it up the other way to serve. Why would you do this? Most often to show a beautiful caramelised fruit just like this.
Storing and Freezing an upside down cake
This cake can be made ahead of time and lasts well in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Fridge: store in the fridge in an airtight container or covered well with plastic wrap for 3-4 days.
- Freezer: Place on a plate in the freezer until frozen. Take it out, wrap in 3 layers of plastic wrap, then freeze for 4-6 weeks.
How to make upside down cake
Preparing the pears:
Pears in baking can sometimes turn out not fully cooked through by the time a cake is baked. This is dependent on baking time and the type of pears you use but to be on the safe side, I like to poach the pears first.
This step is not only super simple and quick, but the poaching here does triple duty by not only softening the pears but also;
- Infusing the pears with brown sugar and ginger
- Creating a gorgeous rich syrup to pour over the cake at the end
Just place the pears, water, sugar and slices of ginger into a saucepan. Bring them to a simmer for 10 minutes and they’re done. Now just drain them on some paper towel to remove excess moisture then arrange them in the base of an 8 inch round springform tin, flat side down (so the cheek is facing up towards you which is different to the picture shown here, but works better).
Mixing the flourless cake batter
The cake batter starts fairly normally with creaming together butter and sugar. I use half granulated and half brown sugar as the brown sugar not only provides an extra level of flavour but also results in a more moist cake. Add egg yolks and melted chocolate to the mixture to get a thick chocolatey batter.
The dry ingredients get added in the form of ground almonds (or almond meal), cocoa, baking powder and salt, plus some ground ginger to complement the pears again. The ginger is totally optional.
Whip up some egg whites to soft peak stage and very carefully fold them through. I like to quickly mix through 1/3 of the egg whites to loosen up the thick chocolate batter, then very gently fold through the remaining egg whites until it’s all just incorporated. Spread this batter over the top of your pears and bake.
Now that thick syrup
This chocolate ginger syrup is truly magical stuff. It’s thick, it’s sweet, totally addictive and perfect drizzled all over the cake.
Strain the syrup the pears were poached in, so you just have the liquid. Simmer that on the stove until it has reduced by about two thirds and you’ll have a thick, sweet syrup. I like to add a little cocoa to give it a chocolate hit and then pour this over the cake warm when you serve it.
- You can certainly substitute the almonds for hazelnuts here. My Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake used hazelnut meal and it works perfectly.
- You could try swapping the pears for plums but skip the poaching step as the plums will otherwise be too soft and fall apart.
This Flourless Chocolate Pear Upside Down Cake is one you can serve all your friends and family and they’ll love it. Chocolate is everyone’s friend and the pears are such a great flavour to buddy them up with. The ginger notes take this cake to the next level. It not only looks impressive but it delivers on flavour, with minimal effort too.
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FOR THE PEARS
- 3 pears
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 cups water (just enough to cover the pears)
- 3 slices of fresh ginger, from a thumb size piece
FOR THE CAKE
- 1/2 cup (100g / 3.5oz) white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g / 3.5oz) dark brown sugar
- 226 g (2 sticks / 1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 50 g (1/4 cup) dark (70%) chocolate, melted
- 240 g almond meal (ground almonds)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (plus extra for dusting)
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger (optional)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
FOR THE CHOCOLATE GINGER SAUCE
- 1 teaspoon cocoa
TO PREP THE PEARS
- Peel and halve the pears. Carefully cut out the core.
- Place the water, sugar and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the pears and poach for 10 minutes. Remove the pears, but retain the syrup for later. Drain the pears on paper towel while you prepare the cake.
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Grease and line an 8 inch round springform tin with baking paper.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, then add the vanilla and the yolks, one at time until fully combined and the mixture looks fluffy. Finally add the melted chocolate and mix through.
- Mix the almond meal, cocoa, ground ginger, baking powder and salt together. With the beater on low, slowly pour it into the butter mixture until combined.
- In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peak stage. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter and mix through. Add the last 2/3 in 2 parts but just fold through in gentle, measured folds until all combined. Keep the mixing to a minimum to keep as much air in the mix as possible.
- Arrange the pears in the bottom of the cake tin, flat side down. Pour over and gently level out the batter.
- Bake for 50 - 55 minutes until the top looks dry and a toothpick comes out with just a moist crumb or two.
- Allow to cool for half an hour before removing the springform tin. Transfer to a cake plate and allow to cool completely.
FOR THE CHOCOLATE GINGER SAUCE
- Return the leftover syrup to a saucepan over low heat. Bring it to a simmer and let it bubble away, swirling the pan every so often, until it has reduced by at least two thirds. It should be thick and syrupy and there should be around 1/4 cup of it.
- Add the cocoa and stir over the heat for 30 seconds longer then transfer to a pouring jug.
- For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE
- 8 inch round springform tin
- A handheld beater or stand mixer
- A silicone spatula so nothing gets left behind
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