Italian Pear Almond Cake

Italian Pear Almond Cake

This Italian Pear Almond Cake is not a cake with pears in it, but more pears with some cake in it. It features 3 pears, peeled and halved, nestled in a delicious, lightly sweet and moist almond cake. Perfect for any time of day.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am currently recovering from some surgery a few weeks ago. I am making good progress though, and as evidence of that … this cake! Yes, I ventured into my kitchen this past weekend not to make dinner for the first time in weeks, but to bake a cake. It is testament not only to my overwhelming need for cake, but as proof as to just how easy this pear almond cake is to make.

As noted above, this cake is not a cake with pears in it. It’s pears with some cake in it. It is classically Italian. It features 3 pears, peeled and halved that are placed on top of a thick batter flavoured with ground almonds. As it bakes, the pears sink in to the cake, just barely peeking out the top by the time it’s fully cooked. For the last few minutes of baking, it’s topped with a generous layer of sliced almonds, just to heighten the almond flavour.

Italian Pear Almond Cake

This cake is lovely, moist and light, owing to the large amount of fruit. It’s also lightly sweetened, so it’s perfect to enjoy any time of day. For a special dessert, serve it topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Cook’s Notes for Italian Pear Almond Cake




If you can’t find fresh pears, canned or jarred pear halves would also work in this cake.

As this cake is very moist and mostly pear, it is best enjoyed shortly on the day of baking. Refrigerate any left-overs to stretch it to the next day.

Some people have made this cake with canned pear halves, instead of fresh, with good success, just in case you’re wondering if that will work.

Italian Pear Almond Cake

Italian Pear Almond Cake

Italian Pear Almond Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 290 kcal
Author: Jennifer
A delicious cake, that's more pears than cake. Moist and lightly sweet, it is perfect for any time of day. Best on the day it's baked. If you have a scale, use the gram measurements, for best accuracy.
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Ingredients

  • 125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature (1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp.)
  • 125 g white sugar (1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp.)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 50 g all-purpose flour (1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp.)
  • 100 g ground almonds (3 1/2 oz.)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 small/medium ripe pears, peeled, cored and halved
  • 50 g flaked/sliced almonds (1.7 oz.)
  • Icing sugar, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Grease an 8-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Prepare pears, by peeling, coring and cutting in half. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and white sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Using a spatula, fold in the flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Spoon batter into the prepared springform pan and use a palette knife to even out the mixture. (Batter will be thick and fill the pan only about an inch thick).
  6. Arrange the pear halves over the top of the cake and bake in pre-heated 375° oven for 25 minutes. Remove cake from oven and sprinkle the flaked/sliced almonds over the top. Return to the oven for a further 8-10 minutes. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the ring and base. Dust with icing sugar before serving with
  8. Optional Mascarpone, Marsala and Orange Cream: Whisk the grated rind of 1 orange and 2 Tbsp. of freshly squeezed orange juice in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons sweet Marsala and 100 g (3 1/2 oz.) of mascarpone cheese. Sweeten with icing sugar to taste.

 

Adapted from 200 Italian Favourites, Marina Filippelli

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80 Comments

  • These pears with a touch of cake (wink wink) are gorgeous! Love the addition of almond flavor! Im totally wanting to eat a (large) slice of this with my morning coffee! This would be perfect to leave out for house guests to help themselves over the holidays! Pinned! Cheers!
    P.s SO glad you are recovering quickly from your surgery!! ;)

    • I used 3 perfectly ripe Bartletts for this one, but honestly I feel like this would be wonderful with just about any variety of pear.

    • Thanks so much, Jennifer (P.S. Congrats on completing your cookbook! Must have been a huge undertaking and can’t wait to see it published :)

  • Hi Jennifer,

    Recipe sounds wonderful. 2 quick questions: 1) To what degree/texture are the almonds “ground”? Power? Flour? Course black pepper? etc? 2) 3 1/2 oz ground almonds = ? in cup. Slightly less than 1/2 C? Thanks so much.

  • Hi Jennifer,

    This is great cake recipe! My little girl likes cake and Almond, and this recipe is for her. She will love this. Also I shared on my facebook page.

    Thank you so much

    -Murshid

  • Hi Jennifer,
    This sounds like an amazing recipe, I would like to try it. About the pears, is it okay if I slice them instead of halving them? We don’t have any corer (is that the right word for it) in the house so is it okay if I slice the pears as one would slice apples for an apple pie?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Ivo, While you could certainly slice the pears if you like, I fear that the cake may lose a bit of it’s character, as the pear will most likely disappear into the cake. You don’t need a corer for the pears. Once halved, simply use a kitchen teaspoon to scoop out the seedy bit (doesn’t have to be pretty, as the cored side is placed down, so will sink into the cake ;)

    • Hi Liz and yes, you can. You’ll definitely want to line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper, so you can get it out of the pan reasonably easily.

  • We have a Pear tree in our yard which is producing lovely fruit as we speak! This recipe looks amazing! I’m going out there right now, picking a few ripe ones and making it tonight for my husband.

    By the way…I have to tell you…I love the fact that I can “go to recipe” without filtering through a bunch of stuff…although, having said that, I DID read your post!

    Cheers

    • Enjoy the cake, Kathy and how lucky you are to have a pear tree! And yes, I just added that “jump to recipe”. Always nice to have a choice :)

  • This cake sounds lovely. My father in law has a pear tree that yields very small pears ( the size of a clementine ) from a Minnesota pear tree. Any thoughts on how to adapt them to fit your recipe ? Thank you :)

    • Hi Rosalie! It just so happens that I picked up some teeny tiny pears recently at the market – they called them Sugar Pears, but they were definitely minis. I made a pear clafouti out of them and they worked beautifully. I didn’t peel them. Just cut in half and used a spoon to scoop out the core bit. I think you could do the same with this cake. Just use more of them! Let me know how it turns out :) – Jennifer

  • Hi there, if I don’t want to put pear halves right on the cake, but rather slice them and put them in a design around the top, any ideas for a suitable way to do this to still get that pear texture and flavor? Should I add pear chunks in the cake mixture as well?

    • Hi Kelsey, I’m really not sure. I suspect if you put a pretty design on the top of this cake, it would sink in to the cake just like the pear halves do. You might want to seek another recipe with a firmer batter.

    • Hi Holly, I’m not an expert on gluten free, but I’m pretty sure you could use any of the “cup-for-cup” gluten free flours to replace the wheat flour in this recipe.

  • Hey Jennifer!
    This cake sounds divine and I’m glad to see above that the recipe can be adapted to be gluten free. My question is, would it work the same using coconut sugar or honey or agave nectar instead of white and or icing sugar do you think? Paleo convert here trying to be good : )

    • Thanks Michelle :) I wish I could help, but I have absolutely no experience with alternate sweeteners in baking. Sorry.

  • hi! does the cake need to cool completely b4 taking it out? at what temp do u recommend to serve it? i like my desserts warm :P

    • Hi Sylvia, If you make it in a springform pan, you can run a knife around the edge and remove the outer ring after it has cooled only a bit, for sure. Getting it off the bottom probably requires a bit more cooling, but no reason you can’t serve, slice with it still on the ring, as shown in the photos. It is lovely warm or at room temperature, so you can go either way.

  • I’ve made this cake a number of times and I always receive positive comments.
    I was wondering if I could use morello cherries instead of pears as I have a jar in the pantry.

    • Hi Lila and thanks :) I think the flavours of this cake would be lovely with cherries. The only difference I see is that unless you put a ton of cherries in the cake, it will be more cake than cherries, which is totally fine, just different from the pear cake (which is more pear than cake). Still good, just different!

  • Hello Jennifer,

    I have loads of pears to use from our Allotement tree, and found your recipe for the Italian Pear Almond Cake, which looks delicious !

    I am planning to make a few cakes with this recipe but will need to freeze, will this be ok ?

    Also I’m wondering as I plan to freeze it, if I should cook the cake, just for the 25mins then freeze ! and then when I need the cake, defrost and finish it off with the sprinkling of flaked almonds and cook for the additional 8-10mins ?

    Look forward to hearing back from you with your advise ! !

    Thanking you in advance

    Sylvia.

    • Hi Sylvia, I am jealous of all your pears :) As for this cake, I have never frozen it, so I have no idea how it holds up. That said, my most recent pear recipe on my blog (French Pear Cake) I did freeze and was surprised at how well the pear held up. Based on that, I’m thinking you might just be ok baking fully and freezing. Enjoy! – Jennifer

    • Hi Leigh, I don’t add either to this cake, though a touch of vanilla is never out of place if you feel you’d like a bit. I’ve never been a big fan of almond extract myself. Just a personal preference. I find it a bit over-powering in most dishes.

  • This recipe was at the top of my Google search “pear and almond cake”, and I’m glad of it! It’s wonderfully delicious and easy to make. I halved the butter to 60g (a bit drastic, I know, but I figured the almonds have enough fat). And I extended the baking time to 40 minutes in a 7-inch springform (so 30 minutes then 10 more for the almond flakes). I guess my pears were a bit juicy and the batter needed more time to set. Thank you for posting. I will be making it again tomorrow (the last one didn’t last long!).

I love hearing from you, so if you have a question or something isn't quite clear, I'm happy to help. If you made this recipe, I'd love to know how you liked it ~ Jennifer

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