Special equipment: four 4-inch ovenproof pots or ramekins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter four 4-inch diameter individual ovenproof pots or ramekins and set aside.
With an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and ginger and beat until well combined. Add the salt, flour and almond meal and mix on low speed until just combined. Using a spatula, gently fold in the pear cubes.
Divide the batter evenly among the pots. If you would like to add the chocolate (and I highly recommend you do!), this is the point where you can bury a few cubes into each pot. (If making one large cake, fold in the chocolate with the pears.) Be sure to cover the chocolate with the batter. Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the top of the batter. Place the filled pots onto a baking sheet and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 30 minutes. (If you are making the larger cake and not using pots or ramekins, you will need to bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes.) Transfer the pots to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.