Today’s Apple and Pear Cake is a lovely addition to any gathering. Brunches, lunches, birthdays, baby and bridal showers, they all would be the perfect time to pull this cake out and share it with your family and friends.
When the weather turns cold, I look forward to the colors and aromas of autumn and winter. I love the cozy evenings by the fireplace and pulling on sweaters to hold off the chill. The smell of cinnamon and ginger and hearty filling meals that warm up the coldest days. It is the perfect time to head to the kitchen and get creative with seasonal fruits. This year we have had more than our share of the cold weather, but before the pears and apples completely disappear from the market, make this cake – you’ll be glad you did!
I enjoy creating desserts that are light and perfect after the heavier meals we indulge in when it is cold outside. Now that the weather is cooling down and rain and snow are around the corner, it is time to dust off the fall and winter recipes we wait all year for.
I love winter fruits and wanted to share a new favorite cake with you. I combined pears and apples, added spices that are a bit different from what everyone expects, made it gluten-free and added white chocolate. It is a lovely dessert, perfect throughout the cool seasons.
This is a very delicate cake, so to help get it out of the baking pan, I use a parchment “sling”. I use pre-cut sheets of parchment paper, folding one to fit the pan and long enough to hang over two of the edges. It is important to get the cake out of the pan because the heat of the pan will create steam, so as soon as the cake has firmed up enough to hold together, gently lift it out of the pan and set on a rack to finish cooling. This helps the cake stay tender without getting too moist.
Enjoy this beautiful Apple and Pear Cake, a celebration of autumn and winter fruits. After heavy meals this is the perfect touch of light sweetness. This cake will definitely be making a regular appearance on our upcoming menus.
Did you enjoy this recipe? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!
Key Ingredients for Apple and Pear Cake:
- Butter, gluten free flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and soda
- Mace or allspice, nutmeg, pears, apples, sugar, lemon zest
- Eggs, salt, half and half, vanilla, lemon juice, powdered sugar
- Mini white chocolate chips, whipped cream, mint
Cutting the fruit all the same size helps make sure everything bakes at the same rate and they will be done when the cake is golden brown.
How to make Apple and Pear Cake:
- Combine the dry ingredients, whisking to combine; cut the pears and apples into thin slices, all about the same size
- Beat together the sugar, lemon zest, eggs, and salt until combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat until it has increased in volume, the sugar is dissolved and it is a pale yellow
- Combine the half and half with the melted butter and vanilla; once the egg mixture is ready add the milk mixture, then the lemon juice
- Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined, scraping the bowl well; fold in the white chocolate chips and the sliced fruits then pour the batter into a parchment-lined 9-inch square baking pan
- Bake at 400°F for about 40 minutes until golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean; cool in the pan about 20 minutes
- Carefully remove the cake from the pan and cool on a wire rack for another 20 minutes before cutting; serve sprinkled with powdered sugar, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprig of mint
This recipe doesn’t make much batter. It may not look like there will be enough, but as the cake bakes it puffs up around the fruit and holds everything together.
Recommended Tools (affiliate links; no extra cost to you):
- Paring knife or chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Citrus reamer
- Parchment paper
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Liquid measuring cup
- Slicing knife
Use a gluten-free flour blend and a touch of xanthan gum to give the delicate cake a little more structure to hold the fruit. Parchment paper will help keep the cake from breaking apart – gluten-free flours are not as sturdy as regular wheat flour.
You can adjust any recipe to gluten-free by using 120 grams of my favorite gluten-free flour blend per cup. This recipe was written using this flour blend. If you are using another brand of gluten-free flour, whisk the mix, spoon it lightly into a measuring cup until mounded, level off the top with a straight edge, and weigh the flour. Use that weight as your standard per cup of that specific flour. Commercial blends such as Pamela’s, Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1, or King Arthur Measure for Measure are all good choices.
- 3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (60 to 68 grams) gluten-free flour blend* or regular all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp xanthan gum (if your gluten-free flour does not already contain it)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp ground mace or allspice
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- 2 small firm-ripe pears, halved, cores removed
- 2 medium sweet apples, peeled, quartered, cores removed
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 1/3 cup half and half, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla paste or extract
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup mini white chocolate chips
For Serving (optional)
- Powdered sugar
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream
- Mint sprigs
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan and line it with parchment paper long enough to drape over opposite sides to create a sling with handles. Lightly butter the parchment.
- Make the Cake: Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave about 15 to 30 seconds to melt it. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a medium-mixing bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum (if using), baking powder, baking soda, mace and nutmeg. Whisk together until completely blended. Set aside.
- Cut the pear halves crosswise into uniformly thin slices. Place them in a mixing bowl. Cut the apple pieces crosswise the same thickness as the pears. Add them to the bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, place the sugar, lemon zest, eggs, and salt. Beat on low until combined and then increase the speed to medium. Beat until the mixture has increased in volume, the sugar is nearly dissolved (the batter will not feel too gritty when a little is rubbed between two fingers), and the mixture has lightened to a pale yellow, about 2 to 3 minutes. (A hand mixer will take closer to 5 minutes.)
- While the eggs and sugar are beating, pour the half and half into a measuring cup with a pouring spout. Add the melted butter and vanilla. Stir together. When the egg mixture is thick and creamy, add the milk mixture and beat together. As soon as they are fully incorporated add the lemon juice and beat in. Stop the mixer and add the flour blend. Beat until just incorporated and the batter is smooth. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Use a flexible silicone spatula to be sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients or lumps of zest in the bottom of the bowl. Fold in the white chocolate chips.
- Add the prepared fruit to the batter and gently fold it in, making sure each piece is coated with the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Gently press pieces of fruit down into the batter so there are not too many sticking up. It may not look like there will be enough batter, but as the cake bakes it puffs up around the fruit and holds everything together.
- Bake the Cake: Place in the hot oven and bake 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edges that are not covered with parchment, releasing the cake from the sides of the pan. Use the parchment sling’s handles to carefully lift the cake out of the pan. Set the cake still on the parchment paper on the wire rack and cool at least 20 more minutes before cutting.
- To Serve: Cut into squares and serve warm, at room temperature, or slightly chilled. You can bake this cake up to 2 days in advance. Store, covered tightly, in the refrigerator. Return to room temperature before serving.
- Place a square of cake on each serving plate. Sift powdered sugar over the top and add a dollop of whipped cream on the side if you want. Tuck a mint sprig alongside and serve.
* Gluten-free flour blends vary dramatically in weight per cup. If you are not using my GF blend (which weighs 120 grams/per cup), you will need to use a spoon to scoop flour into a measuring cup (without a spout) until over flowing, then use a knife or straight edge to scrape off the excess. Measure a cup of your flour blend and weigh it to get your starting weight per cup. Then use that number to adjust the recipe weights.
Inspired by a recipe from Dorie Greenspan
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 477Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 324mgCarbohydrates: 82gFiber: 4gSugar: 52gProtein: 7g
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