Pear Cake with Walnuts

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Pear Cake with Walnuts
Source: Smitten Kitchen

This lovely and fragrant cake is quite soft and moist, and the walnuts add a nice extra crunch. I made half of the original recipe, used brown sugar instead of white sugar, and topped the cake with 2 tbsp of white sugar to add some extra crunch.

Makes about: 1 loaf
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Bake time: 50-60 minutes


¼ cup + 2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg (technically, 1.5 eggs)
1 cup brown sugar (original called for white)
1 cup grated pears (about 3 small pears)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional, but highly recommended)
2 tbsp granulated sugar for topping

Special equipment
Loaf pan, greased or lined with parchment paper; grater

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare pan.
2. Mix together oil, egg, brown sugar, grated pears, and vanilla extract.
3. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
4. Stir in walnuts.
5. Pour into prepared pan.
6. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp of granulated sugar.
7. Bake 50-60 minutes or, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Pear Cake with Chocolate Chunks

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Pear Cake with Chocolate Chunks
Source: Smitten Kitchen

This cake is really really moist, especially with the contribution of the pear. I was quite intrigued by the idea of simply putting the chocolate and pear on the top of the cake. I found that the cake rose unevenly (just like plate tectonics and magma, apparently), but that’s turned out not to be fine. The places with more pear and chocolate were super moist, and the other areas were still delicious. Beating the eggs takes quite some time, but it’s definitely worth the time and effort.

Makes about: 1 8×8 cake pan or 1 8’’ circular cake
Prep time: 30+ minutes b/c beating the eggs and chopping fruit takes a long time
Bake time: 40-50 minutes

1 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter (browned)
¾ cup sugar
3 pears, peeled, diced into small chunks
¾ cup bittersweet chocolate chunks (I used 62% cacao chocolate chips).

Special equipment
Hand mixer or stand mixer required. That is, unless you have tons of patience and tons of slow-twitch arm muscles.

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare baking pan by buttering it or lining with parchment paper.
2. Whip eggs on high speed until pale and very thick. This will take a very long time. My hand mixer took over 15 minutes (but I got it to balance on the bowl, so I had my hands free).
3. While eggs are whipping, brown the butter by melting it in a small saucepan and cook it until it browns and smells nutty (6-8 minutes). Set aside.
4. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
5. Add sugar to the eggs and continue whipping.
6. Add the flour and butter. Add 1/3 of flour mixture, then some of the butter, 1/3 of the flour, the rest of the butter, then the last bit of the flour. Mix between each addition. Don’t overmix, or else you will deflate all your hard work.
7. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the pear and chocolate chunks over the top, until the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
8. Let cool, then slice and enjoy!

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Pear Walnut Cake

pear walnut cake 2

Pear Walnut Cake
Adapted from “Euro Pane Pear Cake” from the Los Angeles Times

The original recipe makes a huge amount of cake, so I halved the recipe and still came out with lots of cake. It’s still very sweet, so you could reduce the sugar even further. It’s super moist, and still great a few days later. The nuts add a nice crunch.

Makes about: 50 pieces (9×13 pan)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 20 minutes

1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup oil
4 small ripe Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and chopped into small chunks
1 cup toasted chopped walnuts

Special equipment
9×13 pan

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Toast walnuts for 6-8 minutes.
3. Mix together eggs, oil, and sugar in a large bowl.
4. Mix in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
5. Add in pear chunks.
6. Pour into prepared parchment-lined pan.
7. Sprinkle toasted walnuts evenly over batter.
8. Bake 20 minutes, or until knife in the center comes out clean.

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Granola Apple and Pear Crisp

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Granola Apple and Pear Crisp
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

The granola topping is quite yummy. Adding ½ cup butter seemed a little egregious, so I did reduce the amount of butter. I also added maple syrup instead of honey. It’s a delicious crisp, although it seems a little too rich for breakfast. Also, 3 pounds of apple is probably more than 5 cups, so perhaps this is why my crisp didn’t take as long to bake.

Makes about: One 9×13 tray
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 20-25 minutes

5 cups chopped apples and pears (original recipe called for 3 lbs of apples)
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon

Granola topping
¼ cup butter
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 cups oats
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup shredded coconut

Special equipment
9×13 baking pan.

1. Preheat oven to 400F. (I baked at 350, and it turned out fine).
2. Mix apples with lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in the baking pan.
3. Melt butter with the maple syrup. Stir in flour, oats, almonds, and coconut. The original recipe suggests cooking until clumps form, but I neglected to this (and it turned out fine)
4. Sprinkle granola mixture over the apples.
5. Bake until apples are softened, about 20 minutes. If the granola browns too early, cover with foil, then bake.

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