Yogurt cake with pear and dark chocolate

February  9, 2011
5 Ratings
  • Makes 1 9-inch loaf cake
Author Notes

This is a pretty standard yogurt cake, but inspired by another French dessert - poires belle Helene (which I grew up calling paere bel helene, and thinking it was a Norwegian dessert) - I decided to pack it with chunks of pear and dark chocolate. It's an awfully dangerous cake to have around because you can convince yourself that a slice would be appropriate for breakfast, snack or dessert - especially with a little dollop of whipped cream, of course. —fiveandspice

Test Kitchen Notes

Fiveandspice's take on yogurt cake makes a great addition to any baked goods repertoire. The cake, which browns beautifully, has a moist, tender crumb, that contrasts nicely with the studs of slightly firm pear and dark chocolate. Depending on your oven, it may take a bit longer to cook than the time noted, so testing doneness with a toothpick is a must. And yes, it is awfully dangerous to have this cake around - it was gone before the end of the day. - Annie "Smalls" —Annie "Smalls"

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 large pear, ripe but still firm, cored and cut into small pieces (leave the skin on)
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet (dark) chocolate chunks (good quality, please)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and grease an 8 inch loaf pan with butter. In a small bowl combine all the dry ingredients (flour through salt). In medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in the yogurt. Then, stir in the dry ingredients, a bit at a time, until well blended. Finally, use a rubber scraper to fold the oil into the batter until it is fully incorporated.
  2. Pour about one-third of the batter into the greased loaf pan. Sprinkle 2/3s of the pear pieces and the chocolate chunks all over the batter. Then, scrape the rest of the batter on top of this and gently spread it smooth. Sprinkle the rest of the pear and chocolate over the top of the loaf and gently press all the pieces down into the batter to partially submerge them.
  3. Bake in the middle of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean – 55-60 minutes or so. Then, take the cake out of the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Carefully turn the cake out of the pan, and then put it upright on a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The cake will keep for several days (refrigerate if it’s more than 2 days), and slices are delicious lightly toasted before eating. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Špela Cvetko
    Špela Cvetko
  • Natasha
  • Adelucchi
  • James Cunningham
    James Cunningham
  • Nikki Pryn
    Nikki Pryn

88 Reviews

saucy S. April 5, 2016
Guess we're in the minority. Just not a winner for my husband and I. Yes, moist and easy, but so so many better cakes out there. Sorry.
mick November 11, 2015
My husband loves this cake. Disappeared so quickly. Thanks!
Špela C. September 12, 2015
Delicious cake, cut the sugar in half as I added another very sweet pear and only half an oil and it turned out great! Also added some chopped fresh mint which leaves almost an After 8 mint fall flavour - delicious.
Natasha May 17, 2015
This cake is uh-mazing. I'm a chocolate fanatic so probably added more chocolate than was called for, but it made it even better. Was amazing warm, straight out of the oven, as dessert.
Adelucchi January 25, 2015
Thanks for this recipe. I love that I can make it without the big mixer. (Easy cleanup.). Great texture. Can't wait to try some of the combos listed here. I made mine with pears and chocolate. Great treat for desert. Want to try it toasted for breakfast!
James C. November 1, 2014
Could this be made into muffins, and if so, how?
fiveandspice November 2, 2014
Yes, it should work. I'm guessing it would make a dozen or just over a dozen muffins. You should be able to mix the batter up the same way, then fill a greased and lined muffin tin, filling each cup about 2/3s full. I'm not certain what the baking time would be, I would guess around 35-40 minutes at 350F. But, I would just keep an eye on the muffins and when they're looking set, do the toothpick test where you insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin and if it comes out clean, then they're done!
GWW March 2, 2014
OR--plain original cake--plain coffee--w/optional dollops of
sweetened thick yogurt, perhaps mixed w/ Poire William, puree pear, or sprinkle of chopped ginger--crystallized or bits of fresh--(and skip strong cinnamon, cardamom,etc...)
GWW March 2, 2014
Of course, the 'joy of 'cooking' is in experimenting, inventing--but how about letting simple be simple--enjoying flavors of basic ingredients--pears & all--(maybe 'brightened' by grated citrus) Serve it w/ coffee, ground w/ cardamom, cunnamon, clove...!!
Nikki P. June 13, 2013
Thank you so much for those suggestions ladies. I am making it this pm and will try the cardamom option...I will post back!
Nikki P. June 12, 2013
I would love to add a spice to this, any suggestions?
fiveandspice June 12, 2013
I think it would be lovely with a hint of either cardamom or cinnamon. Some ground ginger would be a good spice option, or you might even consider a pinch of nutmeg.
Rebecca C. June 12, 2013
it is really decadent without it but, i would go with cardamom to maintain its sophistication or, nutmeg to add warmth. in the fall, this will be a divine dessert. if you are modifying it for summer fruits like peaches or strawberries go with cinnamon or, even basil.
chez_mere June 2, 2013
Just made a version of this with raspberries and extra dark (80%!!) chocolate. Can't wait to cut into it...
fiveandspice June 6, 2013
Yum. Raspberries and chocolate are always awesome together!
Nargess May 20, 2013
I have made this cake so many times now with different variations... ABSOLUTELY AMAZING every single time.. I've done White Chocolate and Cherry, as well as Dark Chocolate and Pistachio chunks! OMG! I have pics, don't know how to add them. I am still trying to make it Gluten Free, but haven't made one that I like yet.. when I do, I will share the GF version.
fiveandspice May 20, 2013
Love! All of those variations sound absolutely fantastic!!!
Nargess February 28, 2013
I would love to make this again for a friend that is Gluten Free. Can anyone please help me to make it Gluten Free? How much of what flour can I replace the all purpose flour with? Thank you.
fiveandspice February 28, 2013
I'm afraid I don't really have any good suggestions since I'm not particularly good at gluten free baking. But, what I would do is look at a good gf baking book, and they usually have a recipe for an all-purpose gluten free flour blend somewhere near the start that gets used as the ap flour in everything. (It usually seems to involve brown rice flour, and xantham gum, and good stuff like that). If you wanted to, you could also potentially try buying a pre-mixed ap gf blend, like Thomas Keller's cup-for-cup, or I think King Arthur has a blend too.
Nargess February 28, 2013
Thank you so much for the suggestions. I have been doing some research and I think I can blend my own GF flour and when I do and make this GF I shall report back. Wish me luck and thank you. :-)
adele93 March 1, 2013
there is a recipe: http://food52.com/recipes/20226-banana-date-walnut-loaf that is GF and they just use GF AP flour
Nargess March 1, 2013
Thank you Adele I will have a look, but I don't have GF AP flour, I do have all the different GF flours and have researched how to mix them to make my own GF AP flour. thank you :)
fiveandspice March 1, 2013
Definitely report back please! I'll be so interested to hear how it goes.
Rebecca C. March 1, 2013
The easiest way to do GF is to get an all purpose GF flour mix; that way your sub ratio is 1:1. Arrowhead Mills is the one i used when i made this, but i also like Pamela's and Craving Pantry. there are a ton others. for the best taste look for rice flour and/or sorghum flour based mixes. DO NOT USE garbanzo/chick pea based ones or, ones that are mostly starch based (yucky taste and consistency). Alternatively, you could look up GF baking websites and build your own mix but, that can get tricky, expensive, and time consuming.
Nargess March 1, 2013
I promise to report back as soon as I make it, I am aiming for next week. Rebecca, Thank you. I live in London and GF AP flour is crazy expensive, but I have found an asian store that sells them all separately very reasonable price and so I am going to attempt to make my own. I will definitely keep in mind your advice about the sorghum and rice flour. Thank you.
Choco E. February 28, 2013
I just made (yesterday) a version of your cake for a family birthday, with "rocha" pear (portuguese), apples, dried apricot, fig and, of course, dark chocolate. I also used vegetable oil, instead of canola oil, and 2 Tbs of Porto wine, an mix the fruit with the batter. It was a complete success! At the end of the party, there are just crumbs... Thank you for this divine recipe!
fiveandspice February 28, 2013
Mmmm. Sounds fabulous!
adele93 February 23, 2013
they have just come out of the oven and my family are going mad over them!!! PERFECT, love the texture and the pear, i might try it with apple and white choc or mashed banana next time
adele93 February 23, 2013
also i used salt reduced butter instead of canola oil and there was no difference
fiveandspice February 24, 2013
Glad to hear it!
Nargess February 21, 2013
I made this yesterday and sub'd sour cream for the yogurt and used 2 eggs and it came out beautiful! The smell and taste of the dark chocolate against the pear, just divine. I would like to try it with pureed pear and see how it turns out. Thank you for the amazing combination and idea of this recipe. :-)
fiveandspice February 24, 2013
EmilyArgh February 11, 2013
I used 1.5 pears to add some extra pear goodness, and for the 1/2 a cup of oil I used 1/4 c vegetable oil and 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil since it was what I had on hand. I don't think a full 1/2 cup of oil is necessary for this cake, so next time I make this (and I'll be making it again!) I'm thinking of cutting the oil back to 1/3 of a cup, and using a mild olive oil, or subbing it for a 1/2 cup of pureed pear.
fiveandspice February 11, 2013
Love the idea of using pureed pear. If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out.
Arlenebdm January 31, 2013
I made it with a ripe Comice pear and it came out like custard. Fabulous.
fiveandspice February 11, 2013
Rebecca C. January 20, 2013
So many positive comments and deservedly so! here's what i did to this hard to mess up/easy to enjoy quick bread cake: Bosc pear (splendid), mix of butterscotch chips and extra dark chocolate chips (OMG, the butterscotch sends it over the top), homemade lactose free yogurt, fruity olive oil (one that has a sweet, lighter taste), walnut oil (because i didn't have enough olive oil), and gluten-free all purpose flour mix. the taste - absolutely amazing!!! served warm with hot chocolate hard to go wrong. the consistency - light and fluffy but, it split down the middle coming out of the pan. i would pass on to others, do what i did - especially the butterscotch chips and the oil choice; but, if using a GF mix, let it cool all the way in the pan.
fiveandspice February 11, 2013
Such great tips!
peggymchoe January 11, 2013
I wondered if this makes a 9 inch loaf cake as the header says, or an 8 inch loaf cake, as step 1 in the instructions?
fiveandspice January 11, 2013
Oh, thanks for noticing that discrepancy! I've baked it in both sizes, and it works in either. It just changes the baking time - which seems to vary a lot from oven to oven too. So, go with the toothpick test for checking to be sure it's done.