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.
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.
Italian Pear Almond Cake
- 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
Pre-heat oven to 375° F.
Grease an 8-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Set aside.
Prepare pears, by peeling, coring and cutting in half. Set aside.
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.
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).
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.
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
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