In my opinion, the best way to eat pears is just as they are. That’s my excuse for not having a lot of pear baked good recipes. But I do have some, and they are really good! They're listed at the bottom. And now I have another one! It’s a soft, spicy, fall-themed and very fragrant Pear Spiced Bundt Cake with Caramel Icing.
Originally from my good friend, Betty, this cake recipe is as easy as they come. Still, there's one step which requires a blender or mini chopper, and that is making pear puree. It takes very little time, but it does leave you with an appliance to clean. I haven't tried this yet, but I don't know why you couldn't just use ½ cup of pureed pear baby food instead of messing up an appliance. Of course if you have the appliance and the pears, that's the way to go.
The caramel icing is what drew me in. Pear cake alone would be pretty tasty, but it's a dessert without chocolate so it has to compete! The caramel icing puts a pear recipe in the big leagues (big leagues being everything with chocolate). But caramel icing makes me nervous. It’s probably because I’m lousy at frosting and decorating cakes, and caramel icing/frosting sets quickly, so things can go downhill fast. But this icing was easy. Just know that the recipe makes more than you need. A lot of the caramel icing dripped into the middle well, so I spooned it over the first layer of icing which is why it has a 3D effect. It actually looked pretty good when sliced!
Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice
The pears add some flavor and texture, but pumpkin pie spice does most of the work here. You can buy it or make it yourself. I prefer making it. If I buy it, I only use it during the fall and winter months, so it sits around and loses freshness. My cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves get more use, so the pumpkin pie spice is always fresher when mixed in small batches with my cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. If you want to make your own small batch, mix 1 ½ tablespoons of cinnamon with 1 teaspoon each of ginger and nutmeg, and ¾ teaspoon each of cloves and allspice. This gives you enough to use in this cake plus some extra to use in Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies!
Pear Spiced Bundt Cake with Caramel Icing
- 4-5 large pears
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (380 grams)
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 cups granulated sugar (300 grams)
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- Maldon salt
- The first step is to peel, core and puree two of the pears to make ½ cup of pear puree. If you get more than ½ cup, you can save it for something else. The other 2 or 3 pears are to be chopped up and stirred into the cake. You can make the pear puree in a blender or mini chopper.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. My favorite way is to brush melted shortening all over the inside of the pan with a pastry brush, then dust with flour. The pastry brush gets all the little nooks in the fluted pan.
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
- In a mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, ½ cup of your pear puree, oil and vanilla. Add each egg one at time until blended.
- With low speed of the mixer or by hand, beat in the spiced flour mixture. Beat until ingredients are blended and batter is smooth.
- Peel remaining 2 or 3 pears and chop. Stir chopped pear into the cake batter, the pour it into the pan.
- Run a scraper or a knife through the batter to get rid of any lumps.
- Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.
- Transfer the pan to a rack and let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then invert it onto the rack and let cool completely, about 20 minutes.
- When cake is cool, prepare the caramel icing.
- Put the butter, brown sugar, salt and cream in a 2 quart saucepan and heat over medium just until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Whisk in powdered sugar until smooth, then immediately pour over cooled cake. Garnish with Maldon salt if desired