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Pear Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 5 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 canned seckel pears or 8 canned plums halved and cored/pitted


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter an 8 x 8 baking pan.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together using either a hand or stand mixer. Beat until they are well combined and fluffy. Add the eggs and applesauce and beat to combine. Add the orange zest and vanilla and combine.
  • Add half the dry ingredients, beat on low to combine and then repeat.
  • Scrape the finished batter into the baking pan and level. Lay the pears into the cake, cut side up, in whatever pattern most appeals to you. I used six pears for this cake. If you use plums, you’ll want to use eight.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, checking in with the cake after 25 minutes to ensure it doesn’t overbake. When finished, let cool for half an hour and then turn it out on a rack to finish cooling completely. Serve with coffee as a treat, or with a dollop of yogurt for breakfast (that’s how I ate it this morning – divine!).


Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours