Gluten free pear cake

Freshly baked pear cake on a blue plate

I discovered this rather wonderful pear cake ((Torta di pere e mandorle) recipe by Elisabetta Ludica, on the BBC Food website. The only change I’ve made to the original recipe is to use gluten free flour. And after baking and testing it out a few times, I’d like to share the recipe with you. 

This lovely gluten free, almond topped pear cake is an Italian classic and I love it! The thin pear slices that run throughout the cake compliment the sponge beautifully and the generous scattering of flaked almonds and sprinkling of sugar before the cake is baked totally seals the deal!

I’ve loved cutting myself generous slices of this cake and enjoying it with a cuppa, but I’ve also added a few suggestions at the bottom of the page of other ways you may like to serve it up. 



200g (7oz) unsalted butter, softened
200g (7oz) caster sugar (plus 1 tablespoon for the topping)
200g (7oz) gluten free self-raising flour or mix (add ¼ teaspoon of xanthan gum if the flour doesn’t already contain this or guar gum) 
4 large eggs, room temp
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
2 tablespoons full-fat milk
3 large pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (I found conference pears worked best) 
3 tablespoons *flaked almonds
Icing sugar, for dusting

Flatlay of ingredients for gluten free pear cake


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4/160C Fan.

Grease and line a 20cm/8in round (deep) cake tin. The original recipe suggests a springform tin. I don’t have one, but if you do, you will only need to grease the sides and line the bottom.

Greased and lined baking tin

Sift the gluten free flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and then add the caster sugar, butter, eggs and milk. 

Whisk with an electric mixer until the mixture becomes pale and creamy. I found it best to stop the mixer a couple of times and scrape the mixture from the side of the bowl before whisking again. You may notice the mixture looks a little curdled at first, but keep whisking and the texture will improve.

Gluten free pear cake mixture in a stainless steel bowl

Transfer the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth down the top before arranging the pears in a circular design. It’s fine to overlap with a second layer if you have surplus slices. Don’t worry about it looking too neat, as the flaked almonds will hide most of the pears and they also sink a little into the cake as it bakes.

Gluten free pear cake before being baked

Sprinkle over the flaked almonds and caster sugar.

Almond topped gluten free pear cake before being baked

Bake for 1hr – 1hr 10 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and when a skewer is inserted into the centre it comes out cleans.

Freshly baked gluten free pear cake

Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes.

Turn the cake out onto a plate and dust with icing sugar. 

Freshly baked pear cake on a blue plate


Recipe notes and suggestions:

The cake will keep well in an airtight tin/container for 3-4 days. 

I’ve not tested how the cake freezes so cannot recommend that you do at the moment. Will update as and when.

I have also tried this recipe with Lurpak spreadable butter (full-fat). I found the cake to be moist and more ‘pudding like’ but still extremely delicious. It did take a little longer to bake than when I used block butter.

The original recipe suggests that you serve the pear cake with Chantilly cream. I think this would work really well, so here is the recipe should you fancy making it: 250ml/9fl oz double cream, 1 tablespoon icing sugar (sifted), 1 vanilla pod, cut in half lengthways and seeds scraped (you could instead use 1 teaspoon *vanilla extract). Method: Whisk everything together until soft peaks form. Best served immediately. Pop in the fridge if not using straight away.

For a spot of indulgence try pouring over a little salted chocolate sauce over the cake. This is all you need to do to make the chocolate sauce: Melt 100g 70 per cent *dark chocolate and 50g salted butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir the butter and chocolate together. Carefully remove the bowl from the pan (watch out for pesky steam!) and pour the sauce into a jug.

Thanks for checking out this pear cake recipe. Of course, credit and thanks for the original recipe goes to Elisabetta Ludica.

If you liked this recipe I think you may also like this gluten free raspberry, lemon and yogurt tea loaf.

For now,
Liz x

*Check this product out to ensure no gluten containing ingredients or ‘may contain’ or ‘not suitable’ warnings on the pack. If in doubt leave it out.



2 thoughts on “Gluten free pear cake

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *