Pear Cardamom Cocoa Cake

Pear cocoa cardamom cake

A sophisticated yet simple cake with sweet pears, bitter cocoa, and exotic cardamom. Serve it with warm custard or steamy tea for an autumn cuddle.

I’ve been craving pear chocolate cake since this summer. I was spending time with my family, I was on the beach relaxing, I was carrying heavy suitcases up and down Italy, I was strolling in the sun with friends, and always thinking ‘As soon as I get home, I got to bake this cake!’

I dreamt of it pondering the ratio of cocoa and flour, whether to use oil or butter, and how many pears to use – that’s quite important if you use too many the cake gets soggy, if you use too little you can’t taste their sweetness.

I made this cake for my partner Riccardo the first time he visited me in my new flat in Copenhagen while he was already living in the UK – I remember the taste as it was yesterday, but I completely forgot the recipe. I recently kept thinking of the balance of flour, pears, cocoa, and butter.

Do you also happen to crave a specific food for days and days and won’t find peace until you have it? Well, it happens to me on a daily basis.

Finally, I had a weekend of quiet, happily bought six small pears, and daydreamed of this cake on my way home.

This recipe came to me unexpectedly. As I started making it, I scrapped all my plans and went in a new direction. I tried something new.

As I decided to poach the pears, I thought to use the delicious water to increase the fluffiness of the cake. I also went to a restaurant the other day and I drank an incredible lemonade with cardamom. This reminded me I had that spice sitting in a cupboard for a while, so I dropped a few seeds in the pears’ water and grounded a bit of it for the batter.

I was quite doubtful as I was mixing the batter, trying so many new things at once.

Let me tell you the cardamom, the pe(a)rfumed water, the poached pears brought this cake to the next level, and I dare you to try it.

I also dare you this week to try things that come your way unexpectedly, as this recipe came to my mind.

Go for a run while it rains outside? Date someone for the first time after a while? Listen to a song by a new artist? Book a trip somewhere you have never been? A world of infinite possibilities.

The other day someone I barely knew texted me they were in London. I was so tired after a long day in the office, and I couldn’t wait to slide into my bed. I then remembered lockdown and all the things we couldn’t do and how much I promised myself to dare more. I dropped my lazy plans, went out, and it was great. I got to know this person a bit more and make of the common long day, a worthy day.

There is a theatre in London, the Old Vic precisely, that has a big red neon sign just as you get inside in the foyer, it reads ‘dare, always dare’. I often think of this big sign as I play my day-to-day life safe and lazy.

It’s a famous catchphrase by Lilian Baylis, who managed the Old Vic from 1897 till her death. She loved the Old Vic so much that they say her ghost still hang around protecting the building.

So, if you don’t want her ghost, or even worse me, after you: Dare, always dare, try something new today 🖤

Pear cocoa cardamom cake

Course: Something SweetDifficulty: Medium
Prep time


Cooking time



A sophisticated yet simple cake with sweet pears, bitter cocoa, and exotic cardamom. Serve it with warm custard or steamy tea for an autumn cuddle.


  • Poached Pears
  • 6 tiny pears

  • 1 l of water

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 7 cardamom pods

  • 1 spoon of sugar

  • Cake
  • 4 eggs

  • 150 g sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 250 g flour

  • 40 g cocoa powder

  • 2 tsp ground cardamom

  • 16 g baking powder

  • 130 g butter

  • 150 ml pears’ syrup

  • Optional: 50 g dark chocolate


  • Poached Pears
  • Poach the pears with 1 liter of water, 7 cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick, and a spoon of sugar. Cook for 20 minutes until tender, you want the pears to be soft but not melting. Turn them halfway.
  • The pears are ready when you can pierce them with a fork. Turn off the stove and let the pears cool down. The syrup will have now been reduced. Don’t throw it away! Filter it and let it cool down. You should have around 150 ml of syrup left. We are going to use it for the cake.
  • Take out the core of the pears with a knife when they are cold.
  • Cake
  • Mix the eggs with sugar till they are white and fluffy.
  • Sift the flour with ground cardamom, baking powder and cocoa.
  • Slowly add the flours and the melted butter alternating one spoon of each. Keep stirring until it’s all combined.
  • Slowly pour in the syrup. Check the consistency of your batter, it should be similar to mayonnaise, a bit thick. If your batter is too dense add up to two spoons of milk, if too liquid add up to two spoons of flour.
  • For an indulging cake, add 50 g chocolate chips to the batter (this is optional)
  • Transfer the batter to the tin. Make sure it is uniform leveling it up with a spatula. Add your poached pears distributing them evenly.
  • Bake at 180 C (fan oven) for 40 – 45 minutes.

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