upside-down chocolate, hazelnut and pear cake

  • ⅓ cup (60g) light brown sugar
  • 5 Corella (rosy pink) pears (550g), halved 
  • 250g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 cup (250ml) unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup (160g) sour cream
  • 1½ cups (225g) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • ¼ cup (25g) cocoa powder 
  • 1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of (baking) soda
  • 1½ cups (330g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 cup (100g) hazelnut meal (ground hazelnuts)
  • single (pouring) cream, to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Line a 22cm round springform tin with non-stick baking paper, leaving 2cm paper above the rim. Place 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar on a small plate. Dip the cut side of each pear in the brown sugar. Place a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the pear, sugar-side down, and cook for 5–6 minutes or until caramelised and golden. Arrange the pear, cut-side down, in the base of the tin. 
  2. Place 25g of the butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar in the pan and cook for 1 minute or until thickened slightly. Pour the butter mixture over the pear.
  3. Place the almond milk and the remaining 225g of butter in the pan and cook, stirring, until the butter is melted. Transfer to a large bowl and add the eggs, sour cream, flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda, caster sugar and hazelnut meal. Whisk until combined and pour into the tin. Place on an oven tray and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutes. 
  4. Remove the cake from the tin and place on a cake stand or plate. Serve with cream. Serves 8
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