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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes one 9-inch cake

Add interest to the holiday dessert table with this warmly spiced homemade cake, which is topped with pears and pecans. The beautifully arranged pear slices make it a spectacular way to end a meal. Or serve it at a festive brunch. 

See Ingredient IQ: Pears for help selecting pears plus more tips for incorporating the sweet, tender fruits in your cooking.

pear spice cake recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 medium pears
  • 1¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup light molasses
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • Powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Core and cut 1 pear lengthwise into very thin slices. Peel and chop remaining pear.
  2. In a large bowl stir together the next seven ingredients (through cloves). In a medium bowl stir together the next four ingredients (through vanilla) and 2 Tbsp. hot water. Add applesauce mixture to flour mixture; whisk just until well combined. Stir in chopped pear. Spoon batter into a 9-inch round or square silicone baking pan, spreading evenly. Arrange pear slices over batter. Sprinkle with pecans.
  3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly in pan on a wire rack. If desired, remove cake from pan. Sprinkle cake lightly with powdered sugar. Serve warm or cooled.

Comments (12)

(5 from 7 votes)
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tracy2 weeks ago
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Directions were easy to follow & I already had most of the items in my pantry. My 1st vegan wfpb cake & it turned out better than I thought. even my meat eating husband like it. this is a keeper

Monique J. Manning2 weeks ago
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Mine came out as 4 stars, but I’m giving this 5 stars for the recipe as is – I couldn’t get pastry flour so I used 2 TBL cornstarch (sifted) + 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour (for each cup appropriate to recipe) and it was slightly rubbery due to the difference in gluten, so I will definitely remake with pastry flour. I also substituted brown sugar for the molasses and the taste was great. My dinner party was happy with it and they gladly took the leftovers home for breakfast! Also, super easy to make and a breeze to clean up.

Kara4 weeks ago
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Wonderful! Made this twice for Christmas family parties and everyone raved over it! Definitely a staple dessert when the weather turns cool.

Laurie Holden2 months ago
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I love this! It tastes like gingerbread. I baked mine for 60 minutes.

Robin2 months ago
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Absolutely fabulous! I have been making this since the recipe came out in the Forks over Knives magazine. Loved by all who take a bite! It pairs beautifully with a Riesling!

Mariana2 months ago
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It looks delicious but I have a question? I don’t get molasses, is there a substitute? Thanks for sharing!!

Laurie Holden2 months ago
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You can just use all maple syrup.

Linda Sharp2 months ago
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Looks lovely. Would this freeze well?

Kelly Brunell2 months ago
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What do you recommend as a substitute for pecans for nut free option to accommodate nut allergies?

Kelly3 months ago
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I made this cake recently for my non-vegan friends and it was a BIG hit. I did not find whole wheat pastry flour so I used regular pastry flour and I was generous with the spices – ie. heaping spoonfuls.

Rosemari Via4 months ago
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Please disregard my previous message. I shouldn’t read a recipe while having a massive headache. Thanks.

Rosemari Via4 months ago
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Hi, I have a question about the “applesauce mixture.” I read the recipe a few times and I can’t figure out what it is the applesauce mixture!! Do I mix the applesauce with another ingredient before adding to the flour mixture? Please clarify your recipe. Thanks.

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about the author

Shelli McConnell

Shelli McConnell graduated with a bachelor of science in consumer food science and a minor in journalism from Iowa State University. She began her career as a home economist in the Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen before moving into an editorial position within Meredith Corporation. She has since freelanced for 25 years and has served as an editorial project manager for many books and magazines, including three editions of the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. She has also developed thousands of recipes for publications including Forks Over Knives magazine; Eat This, Not That!; Diabetic Living; Better Homes & Gardens; The Magnolia Journal; and more. Shelli loves to entertain and inspire, so when she’s not in her office, she’s usually in her kitchen.

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