This pear almond cake, is a simple cake that is perfect at this time of year and great for dessert or breakfast. You can serve it directly in the skillet, which makes a nice appearance. The cake is delicious on its own, just with a cup of coffee or tea, but ice cream or whipped cream are excellent with it too.
You can taste a hint of almond and vanilla, but it is not overpowering. The main flavor comes from the sweet, fresh pears. The pear halves are first cooked in butter until they are slightly browned and then placed on the batter. In this way the pears get a delightful buttery taste.
Tools & Equipment
- 25cm / 10-inch cast-iron skillet
- Cutting board
- Medium bowl
- Paring knife
- Pastry brush
- Stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment
- Wire rack
Pears: you can use the kind of pears you like best. However, the pears should be of medium firmness and full of flavor.
Sinking of the Pears: it is normal that the pears sink into the cake while baking. To prevent the pear halves from sinking in too much, use medium-sized pears which are not too heavy. Do not press them into the batter, but simply place them on top.
Topping: instead of using almonds, you can sprinkle a larger amount of sugar on top of the batter, which caramelizes during baking or sprinkle sugar on the cake immediately after baking and caramelize the surface with a kitchen torch (see last photo below).
How to Make Pear Almond Cake
Gather your ingredients. Wash and peel 3 pears, halve lengthwise and core them.
Melt butter in the cast iron pan. Reduce heat to medium, add pears with the cut side down and cook until lightly browned. Remove from heat and the pears from the skillet. Let the skillet cool, wipe clean and lightly spray with baking spray (with flour). Preheat the oven to 165°C / 325°F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer beat brown sugar, vanilla, almond extract and the rest of the butter on medium speed until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture alternating with sour cream, starting and ending with the flour mixture and beating just until combined.
Spread the batter in the skillet, place pears on top, sprinkle with almonds and sugar. Bake for about 45 minutes. If the top is browning too fast, cover with aluminum foil.
Remove from the oven, sprinkle the remaining sugar onto the warm cake and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
Enjoy the cake on its own or serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
Storage: this cake is best served the day it is made, as the pears will darken and dry out over time.
My Summary for Pear Almond Cake
Taste: this cake tastes fruity-sweet and buttery with a lovely vanilla and almond flavor.
Texture: a juicy cake, with a crunchy top thanks to the slivered almonds and the pears which are still firm to the bite.
PROS: this is a simple cake, but yet impressive and you can enjoy it straight from the skillet.
CONS: the cake is not suited for long storage and should be eaten on the day it is made.
More “Almond” Recipes
- 190g butter, at room temperature, divided
- 3 small-medium pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored
- 220g light brown sugar
- 6g vanilla extract
- 5 drops almond extract
- 2 medium eggs
- 190g all-purpose flour (550)
- 3g baking powder
- 2g salt
- 180g sour cream, at room temperature
- 30g almonds, slivered
- 12g granulated sugar, divided
- Wash and peel 3 pears. Then halve lengthwise and core them.
- Melt 15g of butter on medium-high heat in a 25cm / 10-inch cast iron pan.
- Reduce heat to medium, add pears with the cut side down and cook until lightly browned, for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the pears from the skillet. Allow skillet to cool and wipe clean.
- Preheat the oven to 165°C / 325°F and lightly spray the skillet with baking spray (with flour).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat brown sugar, vanilla, almond extract and the remaining butter on medium speed until fluffy, for 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition.
- In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture alternating with sour cream, starting and ending with the flour mixture and then beating just until combined after each addition.
- Spread the batter into the prepared skillet.
- Place pear halves on top of the batter with the cut side up, sprinkle with almonds and 6g of sugar.
- Bake on the middle rack until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, for about 45 minutes. If the top is browning too fast, cover with aluminum foil.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining sugar onto the warm cake.
- Let it cool completely on a wire rack.
- Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
Recipe adapted from southern cast iron.