Why are pears dubbed “fancy” among foodies? I really don’t understand what makes this simple tree fruit so much more sophisticated than an apple. I just don’t get it. Nevermind all that because today we’re brushing shoulders with the “in” crowd and baking a delicious ginger pear cake.I first saw a whole pear cake a couple of weeks ago and was awestruck by how pretty it looked sliced. Yes, this might be the mark of a sheltered life, but I’m telling you this pear cake was gorgeous. I immediately set out to develop my own pear cake recipe adding in spicy notes of ginger.
Ginger pear cake take two was overbaked. Goodness, when would I ever get this right?
Thankfully, I finally tweaked this recipe to turn out great. This beauty is elegant and a flavor sensation that was worth the effort of a few trial runs to perfect.
We ‘ll start by poaching the pears in a honey ginger bath. The leftover ginger pear nectar is absolutely incredible, so you should definitely save it and add it to tea or simmer it and reduce to a syrup and pour into your favorite bubbly.
Next, we’ll mix up the cake. The cake batter is simple and made from basic ingredients. I like that. Once the batter is combined we’ll pour it into the prepared pan, press in our aromatic pears, and slip the cake into the oven.
- Poached Pears
- Water to cover pears
- 3 whole pears, peeled
- ⅓ c. honey
- 1⅓ c. sugar
- 2" ginger, peeled and in large chunks
- ½ a lemon
- 3 whole poached pears, drained
- 1¼ c. all-purpose flour
- ¾ c. sugar
- 1 T. baking powder
- ¼ c. corn starch
- ¼ t. cinnamon
- ¼ t. ground ginger
- ¼ t. cardamom
- pinch salt
- 6 T. butter, melted and cooled
- 3 eggs
- Icing sugar (as adornment)
- Whipped cream, (as adornment)
- Add honey, sugar, ginger, pears, and lemon to a small pot. Fill with water until pears just begin to float. Bring to a boil, stir gently to dissolve sugar and reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pears and cool. Stand pears on a flat surface to see if they stand upright. If not, slice a small piece off the bottom until they stand erect. Set aside to drain.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a loaf pan with parchment or butter and flour it.
- Measure flour, corn starch, salt, and baking powder into a medium bowl and whisk it together. Set aside.
- Cream eggs and sugar until lightened and fluffy, about 3 minutes. If you have any question as to whether they're fluffy, keep beating. The mixture will gently slink down the beater in ribbons when you're at the right stage. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until almost combined. Pour in butter and mix until smooth. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Gently press the 3 drained pears into the batter.
- Bake 60-75 minutes until a toothpick inserted near a pear removes clean. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing, if you can wait that long. Serve topped with icing sugar and a dollop of whipped cream.
I learned a few things through my cake experimentation that I’ll share with you to make sure you bake a great success first go ’round.
- Peel ginger with a teaspoon.
- Line the loaf pan with parchment paper if you’re prone to cakes sticking in pans. This will also keep the edges of the cake from getting too brown.
- Gently drape a piece of foil over the top of the cake while baking if the top becomes too brown.
- Be sure to handle the cake gently. Support the bottom of the cake when transferring from the cooling rack to serving plate lest the pears slip out from the bottom of the cake.
- Slice with care and slice graciously. Bigger pieces are easier to serve.
Do you know why pears are considered the elitest fruit? I’d love to know! Please share your insider knowledge and favorite pear recipes below in the comments. I can’t wait to see what you’ve got to say!