Pear Cake

Pear Pecan Cake (5)

Cold winter weekends have, if nothing else, provided the opportunity to hibernate in the house, bake, and binge on Netflix. One of my favorite fruits is the pear, so while it’s in season I happily include it in my lunch as often as possible. It was a no-brainer, then, when I came across a Pear Cake recipe. 

As I will reiterate in the recipe below, moisture is a big variable in this recipe. Ideally, you do not want to use super ripe pears. While the juiciness is great when you’re just eating them raw, the liquid makes the recipe take considerably longer to bake. I bought my pears mid-week and didn’t get around the baking until Sunday, so what was originally a 45-minute bake wound up being 75 minutes. Bear this in mind.

Also as I will again mention in the recipe, the nut component can be adjusted to your taste. I used pecans, but walnuts would be good. For the topping, you can got nut-free, sprinkle just a few, create a pattern with whole nuts, or create an entire layer of chopped nuts. I chose to sprinkle just a few around, but I think I’d put more on next time.

Pear Cake

  • Servings: 15-20
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

adapted from: NYT cooking

Pear Pecan Cake (4)

Cake Ingredients
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c sugar
½  c brown sugar
1 ¼ t baking powder
1 t fine sea salt
1 t vanilla extract
1 t ground nutmeg
1/8 t ground clove
½  t baking soda
4 large eggs, room temperature
4 large pears, peeled, cored, and shredded
2 ¾ c all-purpose flour
¾ c rolled oats
½  c chopped pecans (optional, and can be substituted with walnuts)

Glaze Ingredients
5 T unsalted butter
2 T brown sugar
1 c powdered sugar
3 T heavy cream or milk
1 t vanilla extract
pinch salt
nuts as desired to decorate top of cake


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9″ round cake pan, and line bottom with parchment paper.
  • To shred pears, use a cheese grater (largest hole option). If the pears are juicy, drain any liquid that pools, and if they’re really juicy blot with a paper towel.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy.  Add sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, and baking soda. Beat for  1 minute. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating between each.
  • With mixer on low, incorporate half of the pears.
  • Beat in flour until smooth, and then add the remaining pears and oats until well-combined.  Mix in nuts, if using.
  • Spread batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top springs back and a toothpick comes out clean. For hard/unripe pears this should take 40-50 minutes. For ripe pears, this could take considerably longer.  Check every 5-10 minutes after the 40 minute mark to see where you’re at.
  • Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  • Once cake is cool, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan, melt butter. Let it simmer until it foams and then the foam disappears and turns brown. After about 3 minutes the butter will smell nutty and look golden. That’s what you want.
  • Whisk in brown sugar until it dissolves. Whisk in powdered sugar, cream/milk, vanilla, and salt until the glaze is the consistency of hot fudge sauce.
  • Immediately spread over cake. It will harden within minutes, so work quickly to put your decorative pecans or walnuts on top if desired. Use as many or as few as your heart desires.
  • Enjoy!


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