March 2, 2010

Pear Butter Cake: Cooking with Tessa Kiros {Naptime Everyday}

What’s Going on Today: My daughter is mad at me because I didn’t make it to the store in time and they are sold out of sleds! (Hoping someone will let us borrow one when we get to the hill!)
Naptime Goals: Bake Pear Butter Cake, place chicken in the marinade – leave it in the fridge until dinner.
Tonight’s Menu: Soyaki Chicken Thighs, Carrot Souffle, green salad, Pear Butter Cake
Parenting Lesson of the Day: You feel guilty when the reason they didn’t get what they wanted is because you didn’t try hard enough.

We have been on a pear kick in our house lately. Every morning my daughter and I slice up a Bosc or two and enjoy a big bowl of them while we wait for our oatmeal to cook. My husband loves pears too, however, he’s usually gone by the time we wake up in the morning so I try to make sure there are some in the fruit bowl when he gets home.

The other day I was doing my weekly flip through Apples for Jam – I read it as regularly as I read the newspaper – and came across this recipe for Pear Butter Cake. Perfect, I thought, just the thing to make for a dessert after a hearty winter meal. Plus, it would be a really nice way to give my husband a nice pear dessert – his ultimate favorite and something I’ve definitely slacked on this winter.

Like all of Tessa’s recipes, the beauty of this cake it in it’s simplicity. It’s easily to assemble and has an almost rustic quality to it. The flavor comes from the citrus zest and vanilla and perfect layer of pears on top. While it bakes the sugar on top of the pears forms a syrup that seeps into the top of the cake, giving it a light pear flavor that enhances the soft spices of cardamom and nutmeg that have been gently folded into the batter.

We were so thrilled with this cake in every way. It was light, flavorful and incredibly simple for me to bake while my daughter napped. Once I assembled the batter and started it baking I was able to put the chicken thighs into marinate and spend the rest of my time catching up on my to-do list. I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking delicious fruit dessert to make at a time when most fruits aren’t in season. That said, after the debacle of not making it to the store in time to buy a sled for my daughter, I can’t wait for winter to be over so I can stop thinking about snow activities. It is time for spring to be on it’s way!


Pear Butter Cake

adapted from Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros


13 T. unsalted butter, room temperautre
2/3 c. superfine sugar, or regular sugar blitzed in the food processor for 3 minutes, plus 2 T. for the top
1 t. good quality vanilla extract
1 t. lemon zest (Meyer lemon is preferable)
½ t. ground cardamom
¼ t. nutmeg
3 eggs, room temperature
1 ¾ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. buttermilk or half-n-half
1 ½ t. baking powder
3 ripe Bosc pears, peeled, cored and sliced thin in vertical strips.


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a 9″ springform pan.
2. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then, with the mixer on low add vanilla, lemon zest, cardamom and nutmeg and mix well. Next, add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition.
3. Scrape down the sides and restart the mixer, adding the flour and baking powder alternatively with the buttermilk until the batter is smooth.
4. Using a spatula, scrape the batter out of the bowl and into the cake pan so that the surface is somewhat level. Bake for 20 minutes.
5. After 20 minutes carefully remove the cake from the oven and arrange the pears in a circle around the edge of the cake and add an additional circle on the top. Sprinkle remaining 2 T. of sugar on top and place back in the oven.
6. Bake for another 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool before releasing from the pan, then serve warm.
*Note: Cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days if wrapped in plastic wrap with an outer layer of aluminum foil.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

The next time I make this I am going to try apple slice on top, I bet they will be delicious. You can also place with the spices if you feel like it, add a little cinnamon or alter the amount of nutmeg.

Naptime Stopwatch

Assembling this batter takes all of 10 minutes. The longest part is slicing the pears, it helps to practice a bit if you want them to look really pretty on the cake.

Naptime Reviews

Everyone in our family loved this cake, including my daughter who was mesmerized with the idea of pears in baked form!