Chocolate fudge cake with poached pears and salted caramel

This flourless chocolate fudge cake is super moist and dense in texture, as well as being gluten free.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Poaching time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 10
Calories 612 kcal
Gluten Free, Kid Friendly


Poached pears

  • 2 cups wine e.g. pinot gris sauvignon blanc, riesling
  • ½ cup sugar or liquid honey
  • lemon peel of 1 smooth-skinned cut into thin strips
  • 3 pears, small firm ripe

Chocolate fudge cake

  • 350 g good quality dark eating chocolate I used Whittakers 72% Dark Ghana
  • 250 g butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 5 free-range eggs

Salted caramel sauce

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup cream
  • salt good pinch of

To serve

  • 1 punnet strawberries cut into quarters
  • fresh cherries handful of optional
  • Crème fraiche whipped cream or yoghurt


  • To make the poached pears, mix wine, sugar and lemon peel in a small pot. Peel pears as nicely and smoothly as you can with a vegetable peeler. Slice 1cm off the bottom of each pear (this is so they can stand upright on the cake). Place pears in the wine mixture on their side so that they are covered by the wine.
  • Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently, partially covered, for 1 ½ – 2 hours, or until pears are tender, and the liquid has reduced to a golden amber coloured syrup. Baste pears with the syrup a few times during cooking and check that the liquid is not reducing too fast that they start burning on the bottom of the pot. Turn the pears over at least once during cooking so that both sides have a turn being fully submerged in the liquid. Once pears are cooked they can be stored in the fridge (in their syrup) for up to a week.
  • To make the chocolate fudge cake, preheat oven to 170degC. Grease and line an 18-20cm springform cake tin with baking paper. Gently melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler or in a glass or metal bowl set above a pot of simmering water (to do this, quarter fill a small pot with water and bring to a simmer. Place broken-up chocolate and butter in a glass or metal bowl that is bigger than the pot of water, and place on top of the pot of simmering water. Gently heat, stirring a few times, until completely melted. Set aside off the heat to cool to room temperature.
  • While chocolate is cooling, place eggs and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat on high speed with a electric beater for 4-5 minutes or until mixture is very thick, pale and fluffy, and about 4-5 times bigger in volume.
  • Use a large metal spoon to fold melted chocolate into egg mixture until chocolate is uniformly mixed through. Try to keep as much air in the batter as possible. Spoon mixture into prepared cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes until the top has formed a thin crust, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with a few slightly sticky crumbs (note: the cake will have puffed up and sunken back in a bit, which is normal). Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before releasing the cake tin spring and removing the ring, and baking paper around the sides. Then place your serving plate on top of the cake and flip it upside down in one smooth motion to invert it onto the plate. Remove the cake tin base and baking paper.
  • To make the salted caramel sauce, place brown sugar and water in a fry pan on medium heat until melted and starting to bubble and darken (don’t stir!). Stir in cream with a wooden spoon and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes until thickened. Stir in a good pinch of salt, and stir in a knob of butter at the end to add some extra gloss to it. Add extra salt to taste if needed. The syrup will thicken as it cools.
  • To serve, arrange poached pears and some of their syrup on top, and arrange strawberries and cherries around. Finally, drizzle over the salted caramel. Serve with crème fraiche, yoghurt or whipped cream on the side.


This four-ingredient flourless chocolate fudge cake is amazing on its own with just cream, creme fraiche or yoghurt, however add the golden poached pears and salted caramel sauce, and WOW you have one stunning dessert that will get gasps of delight all around. The poached pears can be made up to one week in advance (they keep well in their own syrup in the fridge). I like to serve the cake warm from the oven, but it’s great served cold too!
It all started with the original recipe for a ‘Chocolate Nemesis’ cake from the River Cafe, and since then cooks and chefs all around the World have played around and created their own versions, and here is mine!