Italian Chocolate Pear Cake

This Italian Chocolate Pear Cake features a rich chocolate cake topped with pear slices and chocolate chips. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream for a simple yet stunning dessert.

A chocolate pear cake on a cooling rack with pears and bowls in the background.

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Pears, in my opinion, are one of the most underrated fruits for baking. In the fall craze of apple and pumpkin, pears are almost always overlooked.

This chocolate pear cake is the prime example of why they shouldn’t be!

A classic Italian dessert, this chocolate cake with pears is straightforward and simple, with a beautiful final presentation. Pears and chocolate may not be the first flavor combination you think of for fall but they actually pair perfectly together!

Overhead view of chocolate pear cake ingredients

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Pears – See below for the best baking pears.
  • Granulated sugar – adds structure and sweetness to the cake.
  • Vegetable oil – helps keep the cake nice and moist.
  • Water
  • White vinegar – reacts with the baking soda to help the cake rise.
  • Brandy – totally optional but it complements the pears well.
  • Vanilla – because all great bake goods have vanilla, don’t they?
  • Flour – the main ingredient for any cake.
  • Cocoa powder – adds the rich chocolate flavor and color to the cake.
  • Baking soda – the leavening agent that gives rise to the cake.
  • Salt – a flavor enhancer to bring out more of the rich chocolatey flavor.
  • Chocolate chips – You can use semi-sweet or dark chocolate. Your choice!
Pears being cut on a cutting board

Best Pears for Baking

Like apples, there are many different varieties of pears available. Pretty much any of them can be used for baking but the best pears for baking are Anjou, Bartlett, and Bosc.

Bartlett pears have that classic “pear shape”, while Anjou are the most commonly found in many supermarkets. Bosc are the firmest and keep a slightly crunchy texture after baking.

How to Make Italian Chocolate Pear Cake

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F, then grease and flour a 9″ spring-form pan.
  2. Combine the sugar, vegetable oil, vinegar, brandy, and vanilla in a large bowl. Place a sieve over the top with the dry ingredients then stir them into the wet mixture. Stir the two mixtures until just combined.

  1. Pour the cake batter into the pan and then give the pan a gentle tap on the counter to remove any bubbles from the cake mix. Ensure the batter is spread evenly from edge to edge of the cake pan.

  1. Core, peel, and slice the pears into 1/2″ slices. Then arrange the pear on top of the cake batter in a circular pattern, starting from the center and working out.
  2. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top.
  3. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan, then release the cake carefully from the springform pan and serve.
Chocolate cake with pears on a cake stand with a slice on a plate in front

Pear and Chocolate Cake Variations

There are many different ways to customize this chocolate pear cake recipe. Here are a few of my favorites.

  • Add pears to the batter. Instead of just arranging them on top, you can also add chunks of pear to the batter and then just have fewer on top.
  • Not a fan of pears? You can use sliced bananas instead!
  • Add some nuts. Sprinkle ground nuts along with the chocolate chips – chopped almonds or walnuts work well.
  • Use a different pan. You can also make this chocolate pear cake in a square or regular round cake pan if you don’t have a round springform pan.
  • Make a larger cake. To feed a crowd, you can double the recipe for a 9×12 sheet cake. You will need to adjust the cooking time for a bit longer. Use a toothpick to double-check that the cake is ready.
  • Use dark chocolate. In addition to using dark chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet, you can also use dark chocolate cocoa powder for a richer flavor.
A slice of chocolate pear cake on a plate

Common Questions

Do the pears have to be peeled?

For this recipe, I do recommend peeling the pears. The slices are a bit thicker than what is used in the pear upside down cake and the skin gets tougher when cooked.

Is the addition of brandy necessary?

No, the brandy can be omitted if you choose. I like the slight flavor it adds and the alcohol does bake off but it is technically optional.

Why is vinegar added to this chocolate cake with pears?

Vinegar reacts with baking soda and helps the cake to rise by creating tiny bubbles. It helps create a light, airy texture in this chocolate and pear cake.

Two slices of chocolate pear cake on plates with the remaining cake on the table beside.

How to Serve Chocolate Cake with Pears

When it comes to serving the chocolate pear cake, I recommend keeping it simple. Powdered sugar, ice cream, and whipped cream all make excellent toppings.

My favorite is a butterscotch ripple or a few pralines in cream (my British background always coming through!). Both go great with the pears!

Overhead view of a chocolate pear cake

Storage and Freezing

Leftover pear cake should be covered well with plastic and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. It is best to let it come to room temperature before serving.

You can also freeze the cake as a whole or as individual slices by wrapping the cake tightly in plastic and foil and then freezing the cake for up to 3 months.

More Cake Recipes To Try

A pear chocolate cake with a slice missing

Italian Chocolate Pear Cake

Alisa Infanti | The Delicious Spoon
Italian Chocolate Pear Cake features a rich chocolate cake topped with pear slices and chocolate chips. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream for a simple yet stunning dessert.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12 slices
Calories 287 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 6-7 medium pears
  • 1 cup granulated
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • cup chocolate chips; semi-sweet or dark

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9" round spring-form pan.
  • In a large bowl mix the sugar, vegetable oil, water, vinegar, brandy and vanilla.
  • Place a large sieve over the bowl and add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Stir through the dry ingredients through the sieve into the wet ingredients below to blend evenly. Then mix the wet and dry ingredients together just until combined.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared springform pan. Gently tap the bottom of the cake pan on the counter to remove any bubbles in the batter and spread evenly edge to edge if needed with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
  • Peel, core and slice the pears into 1/2″ slices and arrange on top of the cake in a circular pattern starting from the center and working out.
  • Sprinkle evenly with the chocolate chips and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Once cooled release the cake from the springform pan and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 287kcalCarbohydrates: 50.2gProtein: 2.6gFat: 9.3gSaturated Fat: 6.7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1.5gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 205mgPotassium: 217mgFiber: 4.6gSugar: 30.4gVitamin A: 21IUVitamin C: 2.9mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1.5mg

Notes

Storage:

Leftover pear cake should be covered well with plastic and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. It is best to let it come to room temperature before serving.
You can also freeze the cake as a whole or as individual slices by wrapping the cake tightly in plastic and foil and then freezing the cake for up to 3 months.
 
Please Note:

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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