Chocolate, pear and hazelnut cake – this delicious vegan cake is perfectly Autumnal, with juicy pear, crunchy hazelnuts, indulgent dark chocolate and a hint of cinnamon.
It is easy to make and is perfect with a cup of tea on a cold day; or try it warm with custard for dessert!
This chocolate, pear and hazelnut cake is a veganised version of a very old recipe on Domestic Gothess, originally published all the way back in 2015.
It consists of a light, moist, cinnamon scented sponge cake, generously filled with chunks of dark chocolate, hazelnuts and fresh pear.
It is a wonderful cake for Autumn, the perfect treat with a hot cup of tea on a cold day. But it also makes a great pudding served warm with custard or ice cream.
What Do I Need To Make This Cake?:
Plant milk: You can use any kind you like but it should ideally be unsweetened and soy milk is best as it has the highest protein content.
Non-dairy yogurt: I love using plant yogurt in vegan cakes, it is a great egg replacer and keeps the cake moist as well as adding flavour.
Either soy or coconut yogurt will work, ideally unsweetened. I like the Coconut Collaborative.
I haven't tested any substitutes for the yogurt I'm afraid. Oatly creme fraiche would likely work, and possibly unsweetened applesauce.
Vegan butter and oil: Generally in cakes butter adds flavour, but oil makes the cake more moist. I've gone for the best of both worlds and used both!
For the best results you should use a vegan block butter rather than the spreadable kind in a tub. I recommend Naturli Vegan Block or Flora Plant block.
For the oil I tend to use sunflower as it has a neutral flavour, though any neutral flavoured oil will work.
Vinegar: This reacts with the bicarbonate of soda to help the cake rise and give it a light texture. I use either apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar. You can also use lemon juice instead.
Plain flour: Just regular plain (all-purpose) flour. I don't recommend swapping it for wholemeal, it will make the cake too dense.
I haven't tried making this cake gluten-free, but I suspect that it would work ok with a gluten-free flour blend plus ¼ tsp xanthan gum if the flour doesn’t already contain it.
Cornflour (cornstarch): Adding a bit of cornflour (cornstarch) gives the cake a lovely light texture. You can swap it for more plain flour if you don't have any.
Caster sugar: You can use granulated sugar instead. Don't use brown sugar, coconut sugar, sweeteners or liquid sugars as that will affect the texture of the cake.
Baking powder and bicarb: Using both baking powder and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) will give you the best rise and texture. Don't swap one for the other, you will not get the same result.
Salt: a little bit of salt rounds out the flavour.
Vanilla extract: Extract is better than essence and you can also use vanilla bean paste.
Cinnamon: The cake has just a hint of cinnamon; you can use more if you want a stronger flavour.
Dark chocolate: I use a 70% dark chocolate, chopped into chunks, but you could use chocolate chips instead.
Hazelnuts: You can swap these for pretty much any other kind of nut if you want. Almonds, walnuts and pecans would all work well.
Pear: You will need one large, ripe pear. I like Conference best.
How To Make Chocolate, Pear and Hazelnut Cake:
(Full measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page)
Roughly chop the hazelnuts, chop the chocolate into chunks and core and dice the pear.
Sift together the plain flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk, non-dairy yogurt, melted vegan butter, oil, sugar, vinegar and vanilla extract until they are very well combined.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and whisk until no dry lumps remain.
Gently fold in the pear, hazelnuts and chocolate.
Pour the batter into a greased and lined 20cm/8inch round tin and spread it level.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre (but not into any chocolate or pear!) comes out clean.
As with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup conversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
For the best results follow the recipe closely and make it exactly as written. Changing any of the ingredients could affect the outcome of the cake.
Make sure that you don't over-beat the batter as that can make the cake tough. Just mix it until no dry lumps remain. I recommend stirring it by hand with a balloon whisk.
Because it is important not to over-beat the batter, you need to make sure that your wet ingredients and your dry ingredients are extremely well mixed in their separate bowls before you combine the two together.
The cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for around 4 days.
I originally topped this cake with chocolate ganache but have since decided that I prefer it plain. If you want to add ganache, heat 125ml (½ cup) vegan double cream or coconut cream until almost boiling then pour it over 100g finely chopped dark chocolate.
Leave it for a couple of minutes then stir until smooth. Pour the ganache over the top of the cooled cake and top with chopped hazelnuts.
Can I Freeze It?:
Yes this vegan chocolate, pear and hazelnut cake freezes well. Make sure that it is well wrapped to avoid freezer burn and freeze for up to 3 months.
Allow to defrost at room temperature to serve.
More Fruity Vegan Cakes:
- Vegan apple cake
- Vegan cherry almond cake
- Vegan orange cranberry cake
- Vegan pineapple upside-down cake
- Lemon blueberry polenta cake
- Vegan mango bundt cake
- Raspberry, chocolate and almond sheet cake
- Vegan apple bundt cake
If you tried this recipe let me know how it went! Rate it, leave a comment or tag @domestic_gothess on Instagram and hashtag it #domesticgothess
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Chocolate, Pear And Hazelnut Cake (Vegan)
- 130 g (4 ½ oz) 70% dark chocolate
- 75 g (2 ½ oz) hazelnuts
- 1 large ripe pear
- 190 g (1 + ⅓ + ¼ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 10 g (1 Tablespoon) cornflour (cornstarch)
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 rounded teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 120 ml (½ cup) unsweetened non-dairy milk (I use soy)
- 60 g (¼ cup) plain non-dairy yogurt (I use coconut)
- 60 ml (¼ cup) neutral oil (such as sunflower)
- 60 g (¼ cup) vegan block butter melted
- 140 g (⅔ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease a 20cm/8in round cake tin that is at least 5cm/2 in deep and line it with baking parchment.
- Roughly chop the hazelnuts, chop the chocolate into chunks and core and dice the pear.
- Sift together the plain flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk, non-dairy yogurt, melted vegan butter, oil, sugar, vinegar and vanilla extract until they are very well combined.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and whisk until no dry lumps remain but do not over-beat the batter. Gently fold in the pear, hazelnuts and chocolate.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin and spread it level. Bake for 50-60 minutes until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre (but not into any chocolate or pear!) comes out clean
- Leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes then carefully turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- As with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup conversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
- See post above for tips, details and step-by-step photos.
- For the best results follow the recipe closely and make it exactly as written. Changing any of the ingredients could affect the outcome of the cake.
Old (Non-Vegan) Recipe:
I originally published this recipe in 2015 and have since updated and veganised it. For anyone who loved the original recipe I have included it below.
- 130 g (4 ½ oz) 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 75 g (2 ½ oz) hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 large ripe pear cored and diced
- 150 g (½ cup + 2 tbsp) softened butter
- 150 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 150 g (1 + ¼ cups) plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 100 g (3 ½ oz) 70% dark chocolate, chopped
- 125 ml (½ cup) double cream
- roughly chopped hazelnuts to finish
• Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease a deep 20cm/8in round cake tin and line with baking parchment.
• Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, add a spoonful of the flour if it looks like the mixture is going to split.
• In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt, add this to the butter and egg mixture and mix in on a low speed. Fold in the chocolate, hazelnuts and pear.
• Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40-50 minutes until the cake is firm and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes or so then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
• To make the ganache, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until just boiling then pour it over the chocolate, leave for a couple of minutes then stir until smooth. Pour the ganache over the cake, allowing it to drip over the sides, top with chopped hazelnuts and allow to set before serving.