Rustic Pear, Hazelnut and Chocolate Cake (V)

posted in: recipe, Vegan/vegan friendly, vegetarian | 0

This season I’ve been regularly receiving pears from my friends, who do not know what to do with them (lucky them!). I usually like to eat them fresh as they are, similar as any other fruit, but I finally had enough of them to make whatever I want. Other than making litres of compote and few crumbles, I made this cake, inspired by bittersweet chocolate and pear cake from smitten kitchen


I love to make simple cakes but this one seemed really indulging for an almost one-bowl cake so I had another reason to try it. So I made it twice – first time following the original recipe (with a few changes), and second time by making the cake vegan and doing some additional changes to the recipe. I can’t say which one I liked better, because surprisingly enough they were so different – the appearance, taste, texture… I would say the ‘original’ one is more moist, sweet and and fluffy while my version has this rustic kick due to the usage of hazelnuts, whole wheat flour, bigger pear pieces… I suggest you try both and decide which one you like better.



– serves 6-8 –

Prep time: 15 min > Baking time: 35-45 min >> Total time: 50-60 min


1 cup whole wheat flour*

1 tbsp baking powder

pinch of salt

2 tbsp chia seeds + 6 Tbsp water (replacing 2 eggs)

80ml coconut oil (or 100g butter for non-vegan version)

80g brown sugar**

3 tbsp roughly ground hazelnuts

2-3 pears cut into halves or quarters, depending on their size***

60g dark chocolate with 70% cocoa solids****

3 Tbsp almond or other dairy-free milk

* I tried with spelt flour as well, and the original calls for all-purpose flour, so you won’t go wrong with using any of those

** you can use white sugar as well and increase the amount, as the original calls for 150g

*** I prefer bigger pieces but original calls for small dice. However, I suggest peeling them, they are tastier

**** original calls for 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks


Method -vegan version:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175 C).
  2. Line a 8- or 9-inch (18-20cm) springform pan with parchment paper.
  3. Make chia egg using chia seeds and water. Stir them around and leave to stand for 10-15 min.
  4. Wash pears, peel if desired, then cut them into halves or quarters.
  5. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  6. In another bowl whisk sugar and coconut oil, add chia egg and stir well, then add dry ingredients. Fold the batter and pour into pan.
  7. Arrange pears on top and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Put in the oven, and bake for 35-45 min (depending on the oven), checking with a toothpick after 35 min because you do not want to dry your cake out.
  8. Just before cake is done warm milk and pour over chocolate chunks. Wait for a few min then stir to melt the chocolate completely.
  9. Take the cake out if the oven, let it cool slightly, then pour chocolate over it.

Method – classic version

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175 C).
  2. Line a 8- or 9-inch (18-20cm) springform pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Whip the eggs on high speed until pale and thick. Depending on your machine, this will take 6-8 min.
  5. In the meanwhile, melt the butter until it gets brown and smells nutty. Leave aside.
  6. Add sugar to eggs and whisk them together for a few minutes, then add the dry ingredients and butter,  alternately. Gently fold the batter until the ingredients are combined.
  7. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle pear and chocolate chunks over the top.
  8. Bake about 35-45 min, checking with a toothpick after 35 min (to come out clean) because you do not want to dry your cake out.
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