It was beautifully decadent, a little bit like a dense brownie except without all the carb guilt, and nicely balanced on sweetness. I didn't want to specially buy coconut sugar just for this, so followed an online guide that indicated one could substitute light brown sugar at about a 2/3 ratio, and it came out beautifully. This is also one of those magical baked goods that is even more delicious after it has sat in the fridge for a bit.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with a removable bottom with parchment. Grease the pan lightly with olive oil.
- In a double boiler set over simmering water, melt the chocolate. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, coconut sugar, almond meal, egg yolks, vanilla, salt and cardamom. Stir well to combine. Once the chocolate is melted add it to the bowl and mix to combine.
- In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the egg whites into the batter until completely incorporated and smooth.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Arrange the sliced pears on top and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean.
- Allow to cool before serving, or chill in the refrigerator before serving.