A lovely pear cake, made with fresh pears, nestled in a lightly sweet and moist almond cake. A perfect cake to enjoy any time of day.
This lovely pear 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.
Here are the simple ingredients you will need …
- Pears – If you can’t find fresh pears, canned or jarred pear halves would also work in this cake. For fresh pears, start with pears that are ripe, but still have firmness to them.
- Butter – you can use salted or unsalted butter. If using unsalted, you may want to add a small pinch of salt to the batter.
- White granulated sugar
- Eggs (2)
- All purpose flour – haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour, though I suspect a cup-for-cup gluten free flour should work here. I haven’t tested with almond flour.
- Ground almonds – not almond flour, which is more finely ground. Ground almonds have the texture of cornmeal and are easily found in the baking section of most grocery stores. Alternately, you can process whole blanched almonds in a food processor.
- Baking powder
- Flaked almonds – also known as sliced almonds
- Icing sugar, for garnish
- Prepare the pears by first peeling, then slicing in half from the stem end to the bottom. Use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds and also remove the thin, tough spine that runs up to the stem end.
- As this cake is very moist and mostly pear, it is best enjoyed shortly on the day of baking.
- Enjoy this cake on its own or with a dollop of whipped cream. For a really special dessert, try some mascarpone, mixed with a bit of powdered sugar to sweeten and flavoured with a little orange zest.
- You can refrigerate any left-overs to stretch it to the next day.
Get the Recipe: Italian Pear Almond Cake
- 9 Tbsp (125 g) butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature. If using unsalted, add a small pinch of salt to the batter
- 9 Tbsp (125 g) white granulated sugar
- 2 large (2 ) eggs
- 6 Tbsp + 1 tsp (50 g) all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups (100 g) ground almonds, not almond flour
- 1/2 tsp (2.5 g) baking powder
- 3 medium (3 medium) pears, ripe, but still firm, peeled, cored and halved lengthwise
- 1/3 cup (50 g) flaked almonds
- 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.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and white sugar together at medium speed until pale in colour and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl between eggs (be sure to get all the way to the bottom of the bowl, where unincorporated butter can hide.. With the mixer on low, mix in the all purpose flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Spoon the batter into the prepared springform pan and use a spatula to even out the mixture. (Batter will be thick and fill the pan only to about an inch thick).
- Prepare pears, by peeling, then cutting in half from the stem end to the bottom. Use a small spoon to remove the core and also scrape away the thick spine that runs up to the stem end. Set aside.
- Arrange the pear halves in a circle on the top, cut side down and with the thin end towards the centre of the cake. Sprinkle flaked almonds over-top. Bake in pre-heated 375° oven for about 35 minutes, or until the cake tests clean when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake.
- Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin, then run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the ring and base. Dust with icing/confectioners' sugar before serving.