• 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


  • 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


  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.

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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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