A Perfect Pear Cake

“Maggie: Sweet, juicy, soft on your tongue, grainy like a sugary sand that dissolves in your mouth. How’s that? Seth: It’s perfect.”

City of Angels (1998)


  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 8 tablespoons (0.5 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 mall pears, cored and sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F., and grease a 9-inch cake pan (I use a bit of olive oil, but you can also use butter).
  2. In a bowl, mix/whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cardamom.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until well combined. Add half the flour mixture alternating with the the milk, and finishing with the remaining half of the flour mixture, beating on low speed until smooth. (Note: the batter will be thick.)
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Arrange the pear pieces on top, skin side up, evenly over the top of the batter. Most recently I used one large Bosc pear which worked beautifully.
  5. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, until the top is a golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. While the cake is still hot, run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen the cake. Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan. After covering the top of the pan with a plate, invert the plate and pan and, if needed, gently tap the bottom of the pan to release the cake. Once the cake is out of the pan, you can invert it once more onto another plate to serve. If you prefer, you can cut and serve this directly from the pan. While I cut this into 8 slices, it could easily serve 10. We absolutely love this with some good French vanilla ice cream, and just a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Don’t worry if it doesn’t all get eaten; just wrap it tightly and leave it on the counter. It makes a fabulous breakfast with a cup of coffee. I can’t wait to try this when peaches are in season; I’m certain it will be swoon worthy.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3

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