• (Alan Benson)

A cake for the chocolate lover in all of us, this Dutch layer cake recipe sees rum poached pears sandwiched between chocolate sponge and a decadent mousse.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (125 votes)



  • 3 eggs
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 75 g plain flour
  • 20 g (2½ tbsp) cacao powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 30 g unsalted butter, melted

Poached pears

  • 3 pears, peeled cored and cut into 1 cm slices
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 100 ml white rum
  • 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar


  • 400 g dark chocolate (70%), chopped
  • 200 ml hot milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 55 g (¼ cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp dark rum
  • 500 ml cream, lightly whipped

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Setting time 4–6 hours

The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.

Preheat oven to 200˚C. Grease and line a 26 cm spring-form cake tin.

To make the sponge, cream the eggs and the sugar in an electric mixer for 2–3 minutes until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt, and add to the egg mixture. Fold in until just combined. Add the melted butter and fold a few more times. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes until springy when touched in the centre. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a cake rack, allow to cool. Line the cake tin again and return the sponge to the tin.

To poach the pears, combine the lemon juice, rum, sugar and 125 ml (½ cup) water in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the pears and simmer gently for 10–15 minutes until tender. Drain, reserving the poaching liquid, and allow the pears slices to cool.

To make the chocolate mousse, place chocolate and milk in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and allow to melt without stirring. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. In an electric mixer, cream the eggs, sugar and rum for 4–5 minutes until light and fluffy, then add the melted chocolate and mix until combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream until combined.

Arrange the pear slices on top of the sponge in the tin. Spoon the mousse over the pears, cover and refrigerate for 4–6 hours or overnight until set.

To serve, cut the cake into slices and drizzle with the reserved poaching liquid.


Photography by Alan Benson