Most of the pears we picked have finally been canned, ready to enjoy another day, but I have enough left to play with. Now, I’m doing things like making Spiced Pear Cake . . . and what is a Spiced Pear Cake without a rich and creamy caramel glaze? So I had to do that too, of course.
I realized as I was baking this delicious cake that I don’t make cake very often. It’s not the difficulty of making a cake that keeps me from doing it, because a cake like this really is simple. I think it’s more that cakes seem like they belong to special occasions. And yet, we enjoyed this cake for no good reason on a Saturday afternoon and it was splendid. The cake was the occasion.
My girls were in love with the idea right away – an unexpected afternoon cake party, oh yes! Esme and Eila peeled and diced the pears while Adelaide and I whisked together the other ingredients. While the caked baked, and sent its spicy autumn aroma through every room of the house, Esme said it felt like a holiday. For the rest of the day, I couldn’t help but smile when I realized how a simple cake had turned an ordinary weekend afternoon into something special and perhaps even memorable.
Maybe the girls will someday see these photos, years from now, and the memory of an afternoon spent together in the kitchen will come rushing back – the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg, the sweet taste of fingers dipped in caramel, the sticky pear juice on their hands. A cake holiday, enjoyed all together.
If you’re having any reservations about trading in Summer for Fall, this Spiced Pear Cake will get you off the fence. If you need further encouragement to get into the kitchen, I can also say this pear cake can turn an otherwise uneventful afternoon into a delicious holiday of sorts.
The cake is rich and moist, thanks to the addition of Greek yogurt. The spices taste like Autumn and combine perfectly with the tender morsels of pear in every bite. Pour that caramel glaze over the top and you have a truly decadent dessert.
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- pinch of nutmeg
- ¼ cup ground cocoa powder
- 1 cup of unsalted butter (8 oz), room temperature
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup plain, whole milk Greek yogurt
- 3 to 4 medium pears, peeled, cored, and diced
- ¾ cup butter
- 1½ cups light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9 to 10 inch nonstick Bundt pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, and cocoa.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together at a medium speed using an electric mixer or standing mixer with paddle attachment. When butter mixture is light and fluffy, after about 3 minutes, add in the eggs, beating after the addition of each egg. Beat in the vanilla and yogurt. Turn the speed to low, and add the flour mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix only until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Gently fold in the pears. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth batter with a spatula.
- Bake directly on the middle oven rack for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan, then cool completely on a wire rack.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the sugar, water, and salt. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, let the mixture boil for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it begins to look glassy and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the cream and vanilla. Let cool slightly - glaze will thicken as it cools. Pour over the entire cake and/or individual slices.