Pear and Coconut Cake

A gluten-, sugar- and dairy-free treat, this is a very unusual cake that’s made entirely without flour. It gets its bulk from the desiccated coconut, while the pear makes it wonderfully moist. Coconut helps the thyroid and immune system, and although it is rich in saturated fat, it is a type of fat that is used as energy, rather than being stored as fat.


Serves 10

3 pears

250g (9oz) desiccated coconut

1/2 tsp baking powder (gluten-free if necessary)

3 medium free-range or organic eggs

150g (51/2oz) xylitol (or sugar)


1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a 20cm (8in) cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides with a little oil or butter.

2 Core the pears and pureé them in a blender.

3 Mix the desiccated coconut and baking powder in a bowl. Stir in the blended pears.

4 Beat the eggs and xylitol in a clean mixing bowl until they become pale and creamy, and start to thicken slightly – the whisk should leave a trail when lifted out of the mixture.

5 Gradually fold the pear and coconut mixture into the beaten egg, using a metal tablespoon and taking care not to knock all of the air out of the egg. It’s easy to do this if you draw a figure of eight shape with the spoon as you fold.

6 Quickly pour the cake mix into the prepared tin and bake for around 50 minutes. The cake is so soft and squidgy that a skewer inserted may not come out completely clean, but when it is done the top should be golden and fairly firm to the touch. Store in an airtight container.

Cook’s Notes

Gluten-free if you use gluten-free baking powder, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free • V • Can be made in advance • Suitable for freezing

From Delicious, Health Sugar Free by Patrick Holford and Fiona McDonald Joyce. With special thanks to Fiona McDonald Joyce for use of these recipes for Holford Health Club members.

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