Pear Layer Cake · GF (one 8" layer cake )
I developed this recipe to make use of a few crates of tiny, rock hard winter pears a farmer gifted to the restaurant where I worked. Don’t even try to make this with ripe pears, they’ll just turn into a weird puree as you squeeze them and will make a soggy, unfortunate cake. So, one more time: hard, under ripe pears. Any type, so long as they’re firm.
24 ounces of under-ripe pears, scrubbed but not peeled
1 ½ tsp soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp ginger
7 ounces sugar
3 ½ ounces brown sugar
4 ounces safflower oil
2 ounces melted butter (you can use all oil for a lactose free version)
8 ounces all purpose flour, sifted (use buckwheat flour for gluten free)
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
8 ounces pecans, lightly toasted
1/2 batch Caramel Pear Buttercream
Preheat the oven to 350° and line 3, 8” cake pans with parchment paper. Lightly grease and flour them, and set aside.
Core and shred the pears, using a box grater or the shredding attachment on a CuisinArt or some other gadget. Next, gather the shreds up in a large chunk of triple thick cheesecloth or a clean, thin dishtowel. Squeeze until you’ve extracted nearly ½ cup of juice or about 6 ounces. Alternately, use a potato ricer to squeeze the pear shreds.
Now, onto the recipe itself.
Using a hand mixer or the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, beat together the eggs and sugar, along with all the spices, until they’re light and fluffy. About five minutes. Then slowly drizzle in the oil, melted butter, and vanilla while the mixer keeps running. Turn the speed down to low, and add in the flour all at once, mixing until just incorporated.
Stir in the pecans and the shredded pear and you’re done!
Measure out a pound of batter into 3, 8” cake pans, each lined with parchment, greased, and lightly floured. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes, or until the cakes have puffed and lightly browned.
For more information on how to store cakes, see this post from the Kitchn.
Feb 24, 2011 · 10:39 PM
Lovely picture!! Pear are some of my favorite fruits, but this is a way to use some of those that you know won’t ripen well. Nicely done!!
· Kim - Liv Life · http://livlifetoo.blogspot.com/
Feb 24, 2011 · 11:10 PM
· Caitlin · http://www.beanandbarley.blogspot.com
Feb 25, 2011 · 1:37 AM
So beautiful! That cake looks absolutely delish, and your pictures are gorgeous!
· The Farmers Wife · http://www.themarfarmfamily.blogspot.com
Feb 25, 2011 · 2:45 AM
Wow, the photos look amazing and pears with caramel is an amazing combination! Congrats on appearing on Foodgawker!
· The Cilantropist · http://cilantropist.blogspot.com
Feb 25, 2011 · 8:41 AM
Wow, gorgeous cake!!! No wonder Foodgawker loved it…fabulous!!!
Feb 25, 2011 · 10:01 AM
@Kim, I came up with this recipe as a way to use up those stubbornly unripe pears. They are the ideal sort to use. I hope you give it a shot!
Thanks for the kind words everyone. Post again if you ever try the recipe, I’d love to hear about it.
Feb 25, 2011 · 10:31 AM
That looks really amazing, I have never had a pear cake. What a fabulous idea though!
· RavieNomNoms · http://ravienomnoms.com
Feb 25, 2011 · 2:39 PM
Oh my goodness I wish I could make such a beautiful layer cake!
· CaffeIna · http://caffeiina.blogspot.com
Feb 25, 2011 · 2:52 PM
Can’t remember ever having a pear cake. torte, yes, but never a cake. That situation will be remedied immediately,this looks delicious!
· Cheryl and Adam · http://www.pictureperfectmeals.com
Feb 25, 2011 · 3:04 PM
@Linda, sorry for the confusion! In my recipe for the caramel buttercream, it will send you to my recipe for caramel, which is one of the ingredients. The caramel recipe has the instructions for how to make pear caramel. I can see how that’s a little head scratching! When I get home from work, I’ll edit for clarity.
So, to reiterate: follow the link to my caramel recipe (the link is in the caramel buttercream recipe) make the pear juice caramel variation, and then use that caramel in the buttercream. Hmmm, I wonder if I can come up with any more hoops for you to jump through….
Feb 28, 2011 · 3:09 PM
Amazing job on this cake. It sounds just sinfully delicious. I love the pear and caramel combination.
· briarrose · http://flourdusted.blogspot.com/
Nov 05, 2012 · 4:08 PM
Hi red pink! Absolutely. Just look for super-green apples that are very firm. They may give off more juice than pears, but as long as you squeeze out the amount in the recipe, you should be fine. Let me know how you like it!
Nov 20, 2012 · 8:53 AM
Hi Kate! You can use any neutral flavored oil, like peanut or almond. I don’t like canola oil because I think it has an off taste, but not everyone agrees. You could also use a flavored oil, like walnut or hazelnut or even pecan if you like. Happy baking!
Nov 30, 2012 · 12:41 PM
Ok, so I tried using egg replacer in the cake mix and it did hold together at all. The combination of the gluten free flour and no real eggs was a mess. The icing though…it’s like eating a caramel covered stick of butter. Sinfully Delicious! I’ll try again with real eggs and hope for the best. Thanks for this recipe.
· Christina · http://willflyforfoodblog.com
Dec 01, 2012 · 8:06 PM
Hi Christina. Oh no! What a mess. Glad the frosting turned out to suit, though! I always recommend, when experimenting with a new-to-you recipe, to only make one change at a time. That way if there’s a problem you’ll know exactly why. Hope the next round treats you well!
May 18, 2013 · 8:38 PM
We don’t hear from christina how everything goes…i will try it.
· Peter · http://remediosparalatos.net
May 18, 2013 · 10:04 PM
Hi Peter! I think so long as you use real eggs you shouldn’t have any trouble. I haven’t tried any of my recipes with egg replacer, so I just don’t know how it will change the outcome of the final dessert…