I think pears are very underrated. They are so very much overshadowed by apples when it comes to desserts. There are so many apple cakes out there, and you have apple pie, apple crisp, but just not a lot of pear recipes. So when I saw this pear cake back in December, I knew I had to make it. And the walnut praline topping just sealed the deal.
This cake is a lot like a carrot cake. It’s a traditional spice cake with the usual cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. The best part about it is the balance of flavors. The spices are not too overwhelming; neither are the pears. They strike a perfect balance to create this incredibly moist cake. The praline topping was nothing short of amazing. It added the perfect amount of sweetness to the cake, since the cake is not overly sweet. I loved the texture the walnuts added. This is a great cake to make for guests and it’s a great dessert for winter. I used a tube pan since, oddly enough, I do not have a bundt pan, although I’m hoping to buy one soon.
I am also submitting this to the Tasty Tools event for January over at Joelen’s Culinary Adventures. It is especially appropriate for this recipe because I used both liquid and dry measuring tools. I never thought it made much of a difference, but I read an article from Cook’s Illustrated where they tested the accuracy and they determined that it’s very important to use the correct measuring tools for the most accurate results!
Pear Spice Cake with Walnut Praline Topping
Source: Joy the Baker, who adapted it from Gourmet, December 1992
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cups buttermilk
- 3 pears, peeled, cored and diced into roughly 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 to 1 1/4 cups of fruit)
- 1 cup walnuts (3 ounces), toasted , cooled, and finely chopped
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour bundt pan.
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Beat together butter, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 4 with a handheld. Add yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in batches, mixing well after each addition. Fold in pear pieces and chopped walnuts.
Beat egg whites in another bowl with cleaned beaters until they just hold stiff peaks, then fold whites into batter gently but thoroughly.
Spoon batter into pan, smoothing top, and bake until a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then invert onto rack and cool completely.
Walnut Praline Topping
- 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 1 cups walnuts, roughly chopped, toasted
Stir golden brown sugar, whipping cream and 1/2 cup butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat until smooth. Boil 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in walnut pieces. Spoon warm topping over warm cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.