Isn’t it great that breakfast means you can have all kinds of dessert-y things but it’s totally fine because it’s breakfast? Like, people would find you weird if you ate chocolate cake for breakfast, but coffee cake? Totally cool.
This is one of those super-good-desserts-but-also-totally-appropriate-for-breakfast recipes. It’s adapted from an apple cake I made a while ago—I remember thinking at the time that I just HAD to try it with pears (one of my favorite fruits), but never got around to it.
This winter break I found myself with several insanely juicy and fragrant Harry & David pears and knew right away what I must do with them. I’ve even made a version of this with pears, hazelnuts, and a delicious rosemary honey glaze.
This cake really is the best of both worlds. It’s my kind of dessert—lightly sweet, hearty, a mix of warm and comforting flavors. But it’s also really quite healthy.
I use white whole wheat flour entirely, which not only gives it lots of fiber but also a wonderful nutty flavor and great texture. It’s made with oil, I cut back on the sugar the original recipe calls for, and it’s full of fruit and nuts as well.
As breakfast goes—from time to time—you could do worse.
Look at these guys…aren’t they gorgeous?!
Before getting started on the cake, make the honey glaze (even a few hours ahead is fine). Whisk the honey and milk into the powdered sugar until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to thicken.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Lightly grease or spray a 9×13 pan.
Mix together the diced pears, walnuts, vanilla, and cinnamon in a medium bowl, and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, oil, and eggs together for a couple minutes. Add in 2 cups of the flour, as well as the baking soda and salt.
Pulse to combine, then add in the other cup of flour and mix it in. If you’re using the whole wheat flour, it will be super thick.
Finally, stir or fold in the pear mixture. I was using these amazing Harry & David pears that were insanely juicy, so it actually made my batter more like a regular cake batter.
If you’re using regular pears, your batter will still probably be very thick (which is normal for this recipe).
Pour the batter into the greased pan and spread it out evenly. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
As soon as you pull it out of the oven, poke holes all over the cake with a toothpick, then drizzle the glaze over it.
You can eat it right away (I mean, it IS tempting, look at it!), but I’d let the glaze set up a little if you can.
The cake can be wrapped tightly and stored for 3 to 5 days (and then it starts getting a little funky and fermented). It’s best leftover when warmed up for about 10 seconds in the microwave.
Other delicious pear treats you’ll love:
- Pear Fritters with Maple-Honey Glaze
- Amazing Pear Torte
- Smitten Kitchen’s Pear & Bittersweet Chocolate Snack Cake
- A slight twist on this recipe: Pear Hazelnut Cake With Rosemary Honey Glaze
- Have a pear leftover? Try this Spiced Pear Bourbon Cocktail
Fresh Pear Cake with Honey Glaze
for the cake:
- 3 cups of diced pears (any kind is fine; juicy is better)
- 1 cup of lightly toasted, chopped walnuts
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 3 cups of flour (I use white whole wheat flour)
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar
- 1 1/4 cups of vegetable oil
- 3 eggs (room temperature if possible)
for the honey glaze:
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 2 tablespoons of milk
Make the honey glaze first, even a few hours ahead if you want. Whisk the honey and milk into the powdered sugar until the mixture is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside, it will thicken up as it sets.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Lightly grease or spray a 9×13 pan. In a medium bowl, mix together the diced pears, walnuts, vanilla, and cinnamon, and set aside.
Using an electric mixer beat the sugar, oil, and eggs together.
Add in 2 cups of the flour, the baking soda, and salt, and pulse to combine. Then add the other cup of flour and mix until totally combined (it will probably be super thick).
Finally, fold in the pear mixture. If your pears are super juicy then this will make the batter kind of normal, otherwise your batter will still be very thick (which is normal for this recipe).
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Immediately after removing from the oven, poke holes all over the cake with a toothpick, then drizzle the glaze over it.
You can eat it right away, but I’d let the glaze set up a little if you can. The cake can be wrapped tightly and stored for 3 to 5 days. It’s best leftover when warmed up for about 10 seconds in the microwave.
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