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Recipe for pear spice cake with cardamom and ginger

Pear spice cake with cardamom and ginger.

Do you have a lucky bread pan? Don't laugh, but this is my lucky bread pan. I acquired it at least twenty years ago under somewhat nefarious circumstances (let's just say that it found its way out of a Boston restaurant kitchen that was unceremoniously shuttered when the owner forgot to pay his bills), and after a scrub or two or three, it's been working for me ever since. Sometimes, I use it for meatloaf, and I tried a vegetable terrine once; though I never made that terrine again, I don't blame the pan. Most often, I whip up fruit-based quick breads like this pear spice cake with cardamom and ginger, and the pan works its magic in the oven, rendering a slight crust on the bottom and a lovely split on the top. I love having a pile of these cakes in the freezer; I cut each cake in half and freeze it, wrapped in aluminum foil and then a plastic bag. Long after our local apple and pear season ends, I can pull out a piece of cake, fix a cup of tea, and drink a toast to my magic bread pan.

Pear spice cake (make ahead and freeze).

Pear spice cake with cardamom and ginger

From the pantry, you'll need: unbleached all-purpose flour, baking soda, kosher salt, ground cardamom, cinnamon, powdered ginger, white whole wheat flour, vegetable shortening, brown sugar, eggs, pure vanilla extract, baking spray.

Makes 1 loaf; serves 10-12.


Baking spray
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup grated pears (no need to peel them), approximately 3 large pears
1/2 cup buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a loaf pan with baking spray, and set aside.

Into a mixing bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in the white whole wheat flour. Set aside.

In a Kitchenaid-type stand mixer, cream the shortening and sugar. Add vanilla and eggs, and stir to combine. Then, alternating a little bit at a time, add dry ingredients, buttermilk and grated pears to the batter.

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan, and spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes, then test with a skewer inserted into the center of the cake. If the skewer does not come out clean, return the cake to the oven for an additional 5 minutes, or until done.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool to desired serving temperature.

Serve slightly warm with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, or serve cold. (Can be frozen.)

[Printer-friendy recipe.]

More baked and cooked pears (and apples, too):
Quick and easy apple or pear tart
Slow cooker poached pears in caramel sauce
Pear spice cupcakes
Apple-pear-cranberry crisp
Slow cooker chai-spiced pear sauce

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Preserved pears, from Simply Recipes
Cardamom pear pecan sticky buns, from Wild Yeast
Pear and cardamom fruit leather, from Gastronomy
Pear and cranberry individual pies, from My Baking Addiction
Pear cardamom upside down cake, from Eat, Live, Run

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


No magic bread pan here, but I bet this recipe could be adapted to use all white whole wheat flour and Stevia in the Raw in place of sugar, and then it would be diet-friendly for me! Sounds delicious.

Kalyn, absolutely! With regular whole wheat flour, the cake would be too dense, but the white whole wheat keeps it light enough. I haven't cooked with Stevia, but I've used the Splenda brown sugar mix, which also works well.

Pretty soon this will be featured at breakfast her at the Pousada do Capão!!!
I am always looking for new things - pears cost a fortune here, but it will be worth it.
Thanks Lydia.

Going on my Thanksgiving? List.

Peter, are apples also difficult to get? You can swap apples for pears, of course. Knowing you, there will be some wonderful Brazilian spin on this recipe at the pousada!

Susan, you will enjoy, especially if you're using local pears.

I have to say I kinda like the idea of swapping in apples - I like pears but always love a good apple dessert....now to find my own magic bread pan...hmm...

Carol, I do have an apple version of this cake (here on the blog), so it's an easy swap. The pan really makes it!

I pulled out the cardamom recently for my Thanksgivukkah pumpkin cranberry maple kugel, and also used it this morning in a batch of granola. For a spice that is, for me, primarily used in Pulla bread, I'm really branching out. This looks lovely and I think the idea of freezing half is quite smart.

Kirsten, I love that you make pulla bread. I learned how to make it a few years ago from a friend here in Rhode Island. I have to put half of the cakes in the freezer, or I will surely eat them all!

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