Pear Cake with Cardamom Honey
Gently spiced with ginger, cinnamon and cardamom and topped with pears, this cake is a delicious way to celebrate autumn fruit. A drizzle of cardamom honey over the warm cake and a dollop of whipped cream sweeten the deal. The recipe calls for Bosc pears, which have tend to be firmer than other varieties, so the fruit holds its shape well during baking. A mandoline makes fast work of cutting the pears into thin, uniform slices.
For the cake:
- 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 oz./265 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground cardamom
- 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) (8 oz./250 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup (3 oz./90 g) sugar
- 1/2 cup (6 oz./185 g) honey
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 medium or 3 small Bosc pears, thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline
For the cardamom honey:
- 3/4 cup (9 oz./280 g) honey
- Pinch of cardamom, plus more as needed
For the whipped cream:
- 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped and reserved, or 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
- 2 Tbs. sugar
To make the cake, preheat an oven to 325°F (165°C). Butter a 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper, then butter the parchment.
In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the honey and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in 2 additions, beating until no streaks of flour remain.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Fan the pear slices on top of the batter, overlapping them slightly and gently pushing them down so they sink slightly into the batter. Bake until the cake is deep golden brown and the pears are tender, 50 to 55 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the cardamom honey: In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the honey and cardamom and heat, stirring, until the honey is very runny, about 3 minutes. Taste and add more cardamom, if desired. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
To make the whipped cream, in the clean bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the cream, vanilla and sugar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes; do not overbeat.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then invert the pan onto the rack, lift off the pan and peel the parchment paper off the cake. Using a second wire rack, turn the cake right side up, with the pears on the top. While the cake is still warm, place the rack with the cake on top of a baking sheet and pour the cardamom honey evenly over the cake. Transfer the cake to a platter, cut into slices and serve warm, spooning some of the whipped cream on top of each slice. Serves 8.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen