This Classic French Pear Cake features tender pear chunks nestled in a light and airy crumb, flavored with almond extract. Right before baking, the cake gets dusted with sugar to create a signature crackly top. It’s super-easy to make and is just sweet enough, with a delightful more-pear-than-crumb-ratio. If you love pears, this recipe will become a staple in your repertoire.
A key step : Ribboning the eggs and sugar
For the batter, you must start by ribboning together the eggs and sugar. This is a key step in making this recipe, so I wanted to emphasize a bit on this technique here.
“Ribboning” is achieved by beating the eggs and sugar together (by hand or with a hand mixer) for a long period (usually 5 to 10 minutes) until the sugar crystals dissolve and the mixture becomes pale, thick and forms a ribbon when falling from the whisk. The mixture should be smooth and hold its shape, but not dry. You can watch this video for more instructions. This process is important as it incorporates air into the mixture, which is essential to achieve the tender, airy cake crumb that makes this pear cake so unique.
Cooking notes :
- Choose firm baking pears, such as Bartlett, Bosc, or Anjou. They won’t release too much moisture when baking and will hold their shape.
- I like to peel the pears, but you can certainly leave them unpeeled if you wish.
- When adding the pear chunks to the batter, it will look like there is too much pear – this is normal. Use a spatula to fold the pears into the batter and to spread out the thick batter in the prepared cake pan.
- The cake is rather delicate in texture, so I recommend using a well-greased springform pan so it is easier to remove it from the pan (flipping it onto a plate may break it).
I hope you’ll love this Classic French Pear Cake recipe as much as I do! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.
You may also like:
- Apple Breton Pound Cake
- Gluten-Free Apple Crisp
- Apple Cinnamon Galette
- Classic French Apple Cake
- Orange Yogurt Cake
- Salted Butter Breton Sables
½ cup (125g) unsalted butter
2 large firm pears (or 3 small)
1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup (150g) sugar + 2 tbsp for sprinkling
1 tsp Almond extract
3 tbsp (45ml) 2% Milk
Make sure you read the cooking notes before you start.
Preheat your oven to 350ºF (180ºC) with a rack in the middle. Line an 8-inch or 9-inch (20-22.8cm) springform pan with parchment paper at the bottom and grease the sides with butter.
Step 1 - Melt the butter in a saucepan and set aside to cool.
Step 2 - Peel and core the pears, then dice them into 1/2-inch (1.25cm) pieces.
Step 3 - In a small bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt.
Step 4 - In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until pale and a ribbon forms from the whisk (5-10minutes). Whisk in the almond extract and milk. Whisk in half of the melted butter and gently stir. Add in half of the flour mixture, gently stir. Stir in the remaining butter, then the rest of the flour mixture.
Step 5 - Fold in the pears until they are evenly coated with the batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top a little bit, with a spatula. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over top of the batter.
Step 6 - Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes and remove it carefully from the pan. Enjoy warm or cool, on its own or served with crème fraiche