Chocolate Pear Pudding Cake (gluten-free or not)

DSC03214Happy Boxing day!  This pudding cake is similar to the Friday Afternoon Pear and Hazelnut Pudding Cake I posted…hmmm…almost exactly one year ago!  Appearently I crave pear pudding cake of one sort or another at this time of year.  In the winter, it is very important to me to come home from school and have warm cake and tea before it gets dark.  It makes the shortness of the day less miserable.    So, I have been eating it a lot as an afterschool treat lately, but it would be an excellent thing to serve friends for boxing day tea as well.  It is simply, baked pears topped with a layer of very delcious and slightly sticky chocolate cake.   It’s an unfussy British recipe that came to me by way of my favourite book of food essays, More Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin.  It was originally just called Chocolate Pear Pudding, but for Americans, the word pudding conjures up visions of cold creamy custard, so I call it a pudding cake instead.

In the fall and early winter I like to buy a couple of pounds of unripe Bartlett  pears each week.  I put them in a brown paper bag with a banana.  After three days some of them are ripe enough to eat for breakfast or on the salads with pears  that I take with me to work for lunch.  At the point when a bunch of them get ripe all at once, I make a pudding cake!

To make a gluten-free version of this cake, I just replaced the all purpose wheat flour with an equal amount of chestnut flour.   The chestnut flavour is very nice here.  Usually chestnut flour makes cakes a bit mushy, but in this case the texture is pudding-like and perfect!   In general, replacing wheat flour with just one gluten-free flour does not work, but this time it did!   I cannot vouch for using other kinds of gluten-free flours, but I will say that this a supremely unfussy recipe that may respond well to any number of flours.  So if you don’t have chestnut flour try buckwheat flour or almond meal or bob’s red mill all purpose mix, or something else!  Let me know what happens!

I like this cake even better cold out of the fridge the next day for breakfast.  It does not photograph very well, so just trust me that it is delicious.


  • 1 pound ripe pears, peeled cored and sliced thin
  • 2 Tablespoons cold butter
  • 3/4 cup flour (I used chestnut flour)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Lyle’s Golden Syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  1. Preheat  the oven to 325 degrees
  2. Layer the pear slices in a buttered baking dish and top them with the cold butter.DSC03420
  3. Throw the rest of the ingredients into a bowl and whisk it up until it’s smooth.
  4. Pour the batter over the pears and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.DSC03422YOU MAY ALSO LIKE…

About Big Sis Little Dish

This is a blog run by two sisters. Erin is the big sister who lives in New York, and Silvi is the little sister who lives in Vancouver. They both love to cook! They created this blog to share and store recipes for the food they make.


  1. Glenda Berry

    Happy Boxing Day! This sounds heavenly. Love, Mum

  2. I made this stunning dessert & it tasted heavenly! really beautiful too! 🙂 MMM!

  3. Dona

    Thanks, this I will try

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