Pears, walnuts, and chocolate, oh my! To me, pears are the most underrated fruit. When you catch one at its peak ripeness, it is something magical! I love to eat pears, but even more, I love to bake with pears! Lately, I’ve been putting them in everything. Cocktails, salads, pear butter, and now cake!
So, what is so great about pears you ask? Well, for starters, they are high in fiber. They also contain a high amount of copper, which is proven to boost immunity as well as increase nerve function. This, along with the muscle contraction benefits of potassium, and the polyphenol antioxidants make pears an obvious choice when reaching for a snack!
Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is hugely beneficial to the central nervous system. They also contain antioxidant properties, AND a recent study has shown that walnuts can actually help enrich the gut microbiome!
Dark chocolate, we all know, is also super nutritious, as it contains a high amount of polyphenols, and is actually rich in fiber too! Plus, it tastes great, so you can’t beat it!
So, now that we know all the health benefits included in this cake, can we all agree that this is a healthy dessert??? It’s very low in sugar, and real butter in moderation is also pretty darn good for you! I love this flourless chocolate cake because it feels very fancy and decadent, but it’s actually super easy to make!
Some hints to ensure success when making this cake:
Do not overcook your pears. Only cook them for 2-3 minutes in the warm syrup. Any longer, and they will be really difficult to work with. Plus, you want them to maintain just a little crunch to add some texture to the cake.
Watch your walnuts very closely in the oven. Just a minute too long, and they are toast!
When baking this cake, be mindful of the time. It’s somewhat difficult to tell when the cake is done, but the worst thing you can do is overbake it. It turns into a crumbly chocolate mess if it’s overbaked even by just a few minutes. When it’s baked properly, it’s similar to a rich, fudgy brownie!
So, what makes this cake so delicious???
Eggs - This flourless chocolate cake has quite a few eggs in it, as this is what holds it all together!
Granulated sugar - There is just a small amount of sugar in this flourless chocolate cake, as you really want the chocolate flavor to shine through!
Dark chocolate (64-72%) - You want the chocolate used in this recipe to have at least 64% cacao. Any less, and the cake will be too sweet. If you use unsweetened chocolate, you'll want to add a bit more sugar. I haven't tested it this way, so I don't know for sure how much! - Bourbon adds so much flavor! - You need vanilla extract for sure!
Unsalted butter, melted- Butter, because of course you need butter!
Bourbon- Bourbon adds so much flavor!
Vanilla extract- Bourbon adds so much flavor!
Coarse Kosher salt - This helps give you just a little salty with your sweet!
Pears - I love the crunch and sweetness the pears offer in this flourless chocolate cake!
Walnuts - Walnuts are such a fun addition to this cake!
How do we make this rich, flourless chocolate cake?
Make the pears first: cut pears in half lengthwise, and thinly slice into ⅛-inch thick slices. Remove any seeds or stems from the pears. In a medium skillet (not saucepan), whisk together sugar, water, and vanilla extract. Bring to a simmer, and working in batches, place the pear slices in a single layer in the pan. Let the pear slices poach for 2-3 minutes. Remove the pears from the liquid and lay on a paper towel to drain.
Candy your walnuts: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F. Once the pears have all been poached. Place the walnuts in the liquid and let simmer for 3-5 minutes. Strain the walnuts from the liquid and place on a small parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the oven, and let bake for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the walnuts are light golden brown.
While the walnuts are toasting, make the cake. Line a small, metal baking pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil generously with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
Time to make the cake! Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-high speed until eggs are fluffy and doubled in size, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place chocolate, butter, bourbon, vanilla extract, and salt in a medium glass bowl. Place in the microwave for 1 minutes. Stir together until mixture is smooth. If the chocolate and/or butter is not completely melted at this point, place in the microwave for another 30 seconds.
Once the chocolate mixture is melted, fold ⅓ of the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture. Fold in another ⅓ of the egg mixture, and finally fold in the remaining ⅓ of the egg mixture. Whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Spread the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan. Fan the pear slices into your desired pattern on top of the cake. Place in the oven, and bake for 18-20 minutes, or just until the center is set. Halfway through baking, add the walnuts to the top of the cake.
Chill and serve! Remove the cake from the oven, and let cool on a cooling rack for 15-20 minutes. Place in the refrigerator to cool completely, at least 2 hours, before cutting.
ENJOY! Don’t forget to leave a comment to tell me what you think about this cake. And come hang out with me over on Instagram @sugarandsalt_co.