Pears taste best in a chocolate cake – especially in this Chocolate Pear Cake. Based on a classic versunkener birnenkuchen from Germany this cake is the perfect fall/winter cake.
What type of pear should I use for this recipe?
I love using Anjou pears in this recipe but bosc pears are great too, bartlett pears will work as well! Here is a great article on the various types of pears and what to use for baking.
Dutch processed Cocoa vs. Natural Cocoa Powder?
There is a blend of melted chocolate and cocoa powder in this cake. Both dutch processed and natural cocoa powder will work here.
Can this cake be made in advance?
Yes, it definitely can be. However, I love serving it still warm because it gives molten chocolate cake vibes. If you make the cake the day before, the moisture of the pears will soak into the cake making it seem slightly under baked but it is still delicious! The other thing is you can make it in advance and then reheat the individual slices in the microwave.
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Tips for making Chocolate Pear Cake
- Melt the chocolate and butter together first to allow them to cool before adding them into the egg and sugar mixture.
- Peel the pears because the skin becomes tough once baked.
- Don’t over bake this cake because it will dry out. Check the cake after 30 minutes and the surface should look baked even around the pears. If it doesn’t, bake it for an additional 3 minutes. The moisture of the pears will soak back into the cake after it is baked.
- Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is used in the cake along with cocoa powder. I like to use bars of 60% dark chocolate – bars of chocolate tend to melt better than chocolate chips, but if you only have chocolate chips, definitely use them!
- Butter: Butter creates that rich dense chocolate cake that supports the moisture of the pears. It does not need to be at room temperature since it gets melted with the chocolate.
- Egg: 5 eggs are used in this cake recipe. I use standard large eggs from the grocery store. It is important that the eggs are at room temperature so that they blend with the melted chocolate.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is used in this cake and then you can optionally dust the top with powdered sugar.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla enhances the chocolate flavor of the cake and the glaze.
- All Purpose Flour: Any all purpose flour should work for this Chocolate Pear Cake! I have not yet tried any other flours with this recipe.
- Cocoa Powder: This recipe will work with either Dutch processed or natural cocoa powder.
- Baking Powder: Always make sure that your baking powder has not expired. It acts as the main leavening agent for this recipe so it is important that it is working.
- Pears: See the above tips section for the best pears to use.
How to make Pear and Chocolate Cake
Make the Chocolate Cake Batter
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven.
- Melt the butter and dark chocolate together and set aside.
- Quarter core and slice the pears into 1/4″ thick slices (thinner if you can).
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder into a medium bowl.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Use the whisk attachment and whisk on high for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Once the eggs are fully beaten, turn off the mixer and pour in the melted chocolate and butter. Whisk again until just combined.
- Dump in the dry ingredients and use the whisk attachment but with your hand to fold and mix in the dry ingredients.
Assemble and bake the cake
- Spray an a 9″ cake pan or springform pan with baking spray (one that includes flour) and pour the batter in.
- Smooth out the surface of the batter with a rubber spatula. Then, take each quarter of pear that is sliced and fan them out slightly. Lay them on the surface of the cake batter. Optionally sprinkle a little extra chopped chocolate on the cake batter that isn’t covered with pears.
- Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes on the center rack of the preheated oven. Rotate the cake after 20 minutes to make sure it bakes evenly.
- After the time has passed, remove the cake from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge of the cake to loosen it from the edges of the pan.
- Remove the cake from the springform pan and serve still warm or leave to cool fully. Dust the cake with powdered sugar before slicing.
Chocolate Pear cake
- 9" springform pan
- 115 grams dark chocolate chopped
- 115 grams butter
- 90 grams ap flour
- 35 grams cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 5 eggs room temperature
- 150 grams granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 pears
Chocolate Cake batter
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Place a rack in the center of the oven.
- Melt together the chocolate and butter. Set aside to cool.
- Quarter and core the pears. Slice each quarter into thin slices no thicker than 1/4".
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy.
- Pour in the melted chocolate and butter and whisk again until just combined.
- Pour in the sifted dry ingredients, use the whisk attachment by hand and gently mix in the dry ingredients.
Assemble and bake the cake
- Spray a 9" springform pan with baking spray.
- Pour the chocolate cake batter into the pan and smooth it out with a rubber spatula.
- Fan out each quarter of pear and lay on the surface of the cake.
- Optionally add a sprinkling of chopped chocolate onto the cake batter that does't have pears on it.
- Bake the cake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes.
- Rotate the cake after 20 minutes to ensure even baking.
- The cake is finished baking when a toothpick inserted comes out with clean or just with cake crumbs.
- Once fully baked, remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan and serving. Optionally dust with powdered sugar.