upside-down chocolate, hazelnut and pear cake

  • ⅓ cup (60g) brown sugar
  • 5-6 Corella pears (about 550g), halved
  • 250g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 cup (250ml) almond milk 
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup (160g) sour cream
  • 1½ cups (225g) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • ¼ cup (25g) Dutch cocoa 
  • 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 the base and sides of a lightly greased 22cm round springform cake tin, leaving an extra 2cm overhanging at the top. Set aside. 
  2. Place half of the brown sugar on a plate and dip the cut side of each pear in the sugar. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat and add the pear, cut-side down. Cook for 5–6 minutes or until caramelised and dark golden brown. Arrange the pear, cut-side down, in the base of the prepared tin. 
  3. Add 25g of the butter and remaining brown sugar to the frying pan and cook for 1 minute or until well combined and thickened slightly. Pour over the pear. 
  4. Place the almond milk and remaining butter in a medium saucepan over high heat and cook until butter is melted. Remove from the heat, whisk in the eggs, sour cream, flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda, caster sugar and hazelnut meal. 
  5. Pour over the pear and place the cake tin on a large baking tray. 
  6. Cook for 1 hour 25 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. 
  7. Set aside to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve with the cream. Serves 8.
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