This Nordic and French-inspired flourless pear, almond, and cardamom cake is a serious crowd pleaser. It’s also gluten-free and dairy-free, making it suitable for a variety of diets.
Pure bliss. That is how I feel about this cake.
I just can’t get enough of it. Perhaps because it’s made up some of my favorite ingredients: pears, almonds, and cardamom. But it’s also about how these ingredients come together to form a tender, pastry-like cake that is sweet on the palate and visually stunning for the eyes.
While I have grown to love cooking, I’m a baker at heart. I love precisely measuring and then mixing together a variety of ingredients, letting the oven work some magic and voila! So I was super excited about this month’s Recipe ReDux challenge: to create a healthy holiday dessert.
While I wouldn’t call this dessert “healthy” compared to salmon or salad–it’s dessert after all!–it’s healthy when compared to many other desserts out there. It’s higher in fat than sugar, making it less likely to spike your blood sugar. And because it’s free of dairy and gluten, it’s also easier for many people to digest and tolerate. Finally, portion size. I’m a fan of savoring petite portions, which is always going to help keep total calories in check!
I adapted this recipe from a Boston Globe recipe for Flourless apple-almond pie-cake by Ingrid Lysgaard that I cut out last November. (Yes, I still occasionally cut out recipes!)
Pears and cardamom = childhood nostalgia for me. And I wanted to see if I could make this without dairy by using coconut oil instead. Verdict? No problem! You really can’t even tell that it doesn’t have butter in it! (Of course, if you are not dairy-sensitive, by all means use butter!)
The key to the simplicity of this cake is the almond paste. Almond paste is a Scandinavian product that can be purchased in most major supermarkets. It basically saves you the step of combining finely ground almonds and sugar into a paste.
Overall, the cake was quite simple to make. Just be sure to use a food processor to really combine the almond paste, coconut oil and eggs. I tried with a standing mixer first and that definitely did not work!
I made 2 versions: one in a 9-inch pie pan and the other in a 10-inch pan. Both came out beautifully!This gluten-free and dairy-free almond, pear and cardamom cake is pure bliss! Click To Tweet
I hope you give this recipe a try. Let me know what you think!
- Coconut oil (for greasing pan)
- 7 ounces almond paste
- 4 tablespoons + ½ tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom + more for sprinkling on top
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1½ medium pears
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Confectioners sugar (for dusting on top before serving)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a 9 or 10-inch pie pan with coconut oil.
- Crumble almond paste into a food processor. Add 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of melted coconut oil and process until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time while processing. Add the cardamom and salt and continue to process until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into the greased pie pan. Use a spatula to get it all out and then spread batter evenly around pan.
- Slice the pears into halves and then thin slices. Place the slices in a circular pattern on the batter. They can overlap, but don't let them touch the edge of the pan.
- Brush the tops of the pears with the remaining coconut oil and sprinkle with sugar. Sprinkle on the sliced almonds and a little extra cardamom if desired.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes (10-inch pan) or 40-45 minutes (9-inch pan), or until firm to touch and golden brown. Let cool before dusting with powdered sugar.
Whipped cream or coconut whipped cream if non-dairy.