Chocolate and Pear Cake with Lime Curd and Mascarpone Topping

This cake is a flourless, chocolate sponge with added grated pear. The pear is there partly because I think pear and chocolate work well together but mostly to keep the cake moist. The effect is to produce something that, for me, is a bit like a lighter version of a brownie. The idea of adding fruit comes from an Australian recipe (a Dov Sokoni recipe, I think) that I saw a dozen or so years ago. That recipe added apple to a chocolate cake – sounds odd but I promise it works.

For the topping, I've used a very simple frosting based on lime curd. The recipe below will make too much lime curd for the cake (in fact, it will make about 2 standard jars) but I don't think it's very practical to make a smaller amount. If you prefer, you could just serve the mascarpone and lime curd mixture alongside the cake.

The cake should divide up into 8 (or more) pieces, but be careful when handling and cutting the cake, because it can be a little fragile.

Chocolate and Lime Curd Cake

For the lime curd:
      210 g caster sugar
      140 g butter, cut into small pieces
      Zest and juice of 4 limes
      3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
For the cake:
      5 eggs, separated
      125 g caster sugar
      125 g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
      125 g ground almonds
      150 g peeled and grated pear – so 1 large or 2 small ripe but firmish pears (I like comice pears for this, if they're available)
For the topping:
      250 g mascarpone
      8 tbsp lime curd
      2 – 4 tsp icing sugar (to taste)

To make the lime curd, set a bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water – make sure that the bowl isn't touching the water or the curd is likely to overheat. Put the sugar, butter, lime juice and zest into the bowl and stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has fully dissolved.

Add the eggs and keep stirring until the curd thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. You could keep the curd in the fridge if you’re going to use it quickly, but I was traditional and put it into sterilised jars.

To make the cake, grease a 21cm square cake tin, preferably a loose-bottomed tin if you have one. Grease the tin carefully since the cake is prone to sticking. Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Thoroughly beat the egg yolks with the caster sugar until they’re very pale. Stir in the pear, chocolate and ground almonds until fully combined. Beat the egg whites to the stiff peak stage and fold them in.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for around 35 minutes. The baking time for this cake can vary depending on the moisture in the pears, so test with a skewer or knife point after about 25 minutes and continue to check regularly. The skewer should come out clean when the cake is ready.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 5 minutes or so before carefully turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

To make the topping, simply beat together the mascarpone and lime curd and add as much or as little icing sugar as seems right to you.

To serve, cut the cake up into rectangular chunks, spread with the topping and rough it up with a fork.

Chocolate and Lime Curd Cake


  1. Pear and chocolate are definitely a great flavour combo. Yum. I'm collecting flour-less cake recipes to bake for my gluten-allergen friends. I cannot wait to give this a try. Thanks for sharing the recipe. :)

  2. Wow, that cake just looks so scrummy, Phil. I want to eat it right now!!! I love the idea of the lime curd, I have a few limes that need using up :-) I assume I can can the curd and put it down? Or should I just put it in the fridge?

  3. Another winner from you Phil. I keep promising myself I'll make curd - the last one I made was rhubarb curd about 6 years ago. Now, it's looking like it might be lime curd AND I very much doubt there would be much left over, it sounds delicious. Interesting what you were saying about mango - mango and lime, yes, yes, yes - mango, lime and chocolate???

  4. This is a sure fire hit! I love it, thanks for the post of the recipe.

  5. What an interesting selection of flavours here. I always love the flourless cakes. I bet the moist texture is enchanced even more by the grated pear. Great recipe!

  6. your lime curd looks a little more natural than mine!... I love it though... bet it had that wonderful sherberty tang that it so perfect with rich, dark chocolate!... delicious!

  7. Thanks for the comments everyone. I should have said that any spare curd should really stored in the fridge, despite being in sterilised jars. Even then it's best eaten pretty quickly. I always seem to eat mine within a week or so - I'm not being greedy, of course, just cautious. (At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

  8. Ma che meraviglia!Una vera e propria tentazione! Un abbraccio e complimenti anche per la gran bella presentazione!

  9. I love the flavour combinations here - excellent choice!


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