Almond Torte with Pears and Whipped Cream

Prep Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins

This flourless cake is incredibly light and moist.


For the cake:

  • 1 ¼ cups whole natural almonds (about 6 ounces), toasted

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 4 large eggs, separated

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt

For the pears and topping:

  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 5 wide strips lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

  • 4 firm, ripe Anjou or Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and quartered

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • ¼ cup sour cream


  1. Make cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, blend almonds and cornstarch until finely ground, about 15 seconds. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Gently fold in almond mixture. In another large bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third the whites into almond mixture; fold almond mixture into remaining whites just until combined. Pour batter into a 9-inch springform pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan.

  2. Make pears and topping: In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups water, 3/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and lemon zest to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add pears, and cover pan with a piece of parchment to keep pears submerged. Cook until pears are tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate. Bring liquid to a boil and reduce until thick and syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk heavy cream until soft peaks form. Whisk in sour cream and 2 tablespoons sugar; continue to whisk until soft peaks return. Serve cake with pears, syrup, and whipped cream.

Cook's Notes

If you don't have a corer, use a teaspoon-size measuring spoon to core the pears.

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