This French cake is a special autumn treat when pears are firm and juicy.
A whisper of warm spices and vanilla compliment the delicate taste of the pears. There are more pears than cake in the final product. The batter enrobes the pears just barely so that the cake plays a supporting role. The pears are the star. This lovely cake has a caramelized top and a moist center. I’m always happy to have this classic cake sitting on my counter.
I’ve made this vintage French recipe for many years with my homemade vanilla sugar. Regular white sugar works fine too. This cake is delicious served warm from the oven with a topping or side of whipped cream.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup of my homemade vanilla sugar or regular white sugar. You could reduce the sugar to ⅔ cup if you prefer,
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon of salt. I use sea salt.
- ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of grated nutmeg (optional)
- 4 pears
- 2 large eggs
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- To Serve: whipped cream
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg (if using) together in bowl. Peel the pears, remove the cores and cut the pears into 1 to 2-inch chunks.
- Beat the eggs until they've increased in volume and they're foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or more to blend. Stir in the vanilla extract. Stir in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing after each addition. The batter will be somewhat thick. Fold in the pears so that they're coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan. Spread out evenly.
- Put the pan into the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. The cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature. I enjoy it fresh from the oven with a little whipped cream.
- When buttering the pan, the butter wrapper is a handy tool.
- I use the whisk attachment with a handheld electric mixer to beat the eggs.
- Feel free to bump up the spices. You can also stir in 2-3 tablespoons of pear brandy to the batter with the vanilla extract.