I’m bound to eat all of this before Michael even makes it home from work today.
I LOVE apple spice cake (have you tried this one?) and I love pears, so the idea of a pear spice cake really sent me over the moon. Especially since the recipe I based this one on came from Jaime at Sophistimom (I have mentioned I want to be her when I grow up, right?). After swooning, recovering, then swooning again over her Pumpkin Torte with Dreamy Brown Sugar Frosting, I completely trusted her about this pear cake. Plus, when pears are this perfectly in season and it’s blustery outside, I couldn’t think of anything better than filling my kitchen with the smell and warmth of something baking in the oven.
I was able to find organic pears for the same low price ($1 per pound) as the regular pears in my local market. This was a definite perk, as the regular pears were rock solid and had obviously just been pulled out of cold storage. The organic pears, on the other hand, gave just a little when pressed and many of them had a pretty pink blush I swooned over.
If you don’t have cardamom on hand, it might be time to pick some up. It’s one of the pricier spices ($6-7 per jar), but it’s a really delicious flavor. I use it in this cake, the above-mentioned pumpkin cake, and (one of my favorite foods) Indian Butter Chicken. You can sometimes find it available in bulk at places like Whole Foods, if you want to try it out before buying a jar. Or, you and a friend can split one, if you’re nervous. Personally, I’ve been converted.
I’d like to try making this in bundt form sometime soon, though I might need to play with the amounts a bit. I’ll let you know how it goes if I’m successful. As is, this recipe makes two smallish loaf cakes. One last tip is not to skip greasing AND flouring the pans you use for the cake. You’ll be glad you did.
4 medium-sized ripe pears, peeled, cored, and diced
1/4c brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2c butter, softened
1/2c brown sugar
1/2c sour cream (I used light)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2tsp ground cardamom
1/2tsp ground ginger
1/2tsp baking soda
1 1/2tsp baking powder
1 1/2c flour
For Cream Cheese Glaze:
3 Tbsp light cream cheese, softened (you can use full-fat)
3 Tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3c powdered sugar
2–4 Tbsp milk
For Pear Sauce and Cake:
Make pear sauce by combining diced pears, brown sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Cook 20-25 minutes over medium heat or until pears are softened and falling apart. Mash with a potato masher or fork until roughly mashed (does not need to be pureed). Set aside 1 1/2c to cool (should be about all of it).
In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream butter and sugars 1-2 minutes on high speed or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Add vanilla and beat 3-4 minutes. Batter should be light in color and fluffy. Mix in sour cream.
In a small bowl, sift together spices, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and flour. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture until just combined (batter will be thick). Stir in pear sauce. This will loosen the batter up quite a bit. Don’t worry.
Pour batter into two loaf pans that have been greased and floured. You can use cooking spray and then a tablespoon or two of flour. Shake flour around in pans to cover spray, then tap out any excess flour. Smooth tops of batter.
Bake at 325 degrees for 35-37 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of one of the cakes. Allow cakes to cool 5-7 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edges of the loaf pans, and remove cakes from pans. Set on a cooling rack to completely cool.
Top with cream cheese glaze (recipe follows).
For Cream Cheese Glaze:
Cream together cream cheese and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add powdered sugar. Add enough milk to reach your desired consistency (some want it thicker or thinner–I used 3 Tbsp).