Pear Spice Cake with Toasted Walnuts

by Marla on November 4, 2010 · 61 comments

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Organic Thanksgiving holiday fruit cake with pear, walnuts and cornmeal.

Ready, set, go! We have launched into Thanksgiving mode. Good bye Halloween, hello Turkey and trimmings. Over here we have all the Fall spices lined up and ready for action. Today I bring you pear cake. OMG. I came up with this cake to pay tribute to all of the beautiful pears I have been seeing at the markets. From green & ruby red d’Anjou pears, to Bartlett or Comice…..whatever pear you choose happiness is guaranteed.

Organic pears for holiday Thanksgiving cake recipe.

Apples usually take center stage this time of year. We love them for applesauce, cider, pies, and eaten whole as a snack. Now it is time to give pears the love they deserve. For this cake I made a pear sauce. A unique cousin to the apple version. At first I was just going to cut the pears into chunks and add them to the batter & then I switched gears.

Thanksgiving Pear fruit cinnamon, ginger cake for the home chef.

I wanted each and every bite to be infused with pear, spices and flavor. The pear sauce was a great idea. It helped to make this cake very moist.

Homemade pear cake recipe for the home chef.

Instead of using all flour I used half medium grind cornmeal. It added both to the texture & flavor of this cake. Our cake could have baked a bit longer, but the center had a pudding like texture that was creamy & indulgent.

Homemade pear cake with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

This cake is perfect for dessert, breakfast, brunch or snacking. Great for the lunchbox too!

Pear cake with homemade whipped cream, chocolate sauce and walnuts.

Serve some up at your Thanksgiving feast or enjoy on your own with a steamy cup of coffee. My Pear Spice Cake is guilt free. Loaded with whole grains, fruit and nuts. You can also get a bit sassy & top a slice with chocolate sauce & whipped cream. You can also go a bit lighter with slightly sweetened Thick Greek Yogurt.

Healthy cake for Thanksgiving and Fall holiday parties.

What are your favorite cakes to serve for Thanksgiving? How do you like to use pears in baking?

Pear Spice Cake with Walnuts

Makes about 10-12  servings


  • I highly suggest you toast your nuts before you use them. Doing this adds so much to the flavor & texture of baked treats.
  • This cake will be good stored at room temperature for a day or two. After that wrap it up and put in the fridge. You can freeze some too.


  • 3 Pears cleaned and roughly chopped, remove core & keep skin on – use your favorite variety or mix a few (you will use one cup of this sauce)
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons White Whole Wheat flour  -or- Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 cup medium grind Cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup chopped, toasted Walnuts
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon Stevia Powder or to taste
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 cup Milk (I like fat free)
  • 1 cup Pear Sauce (from above)
  • 2 tablespoons melted Unsalted Butter
  • chopped crystal or Candied Ginger for topping
  • Optional: whipped cream & chocolate sauce


Toasted Nuts: Preheat oven to 350˚F with the rack in the center. Chop nuts to the size you want them & arrange on a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, tossing once or twice to toast evenly. Toast until slightly browned and fragrant.

Pear Sauce: Wash and roughly cube pears. I left the skin on for added nutrients. Place pears in a medium sauce pan with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat & partially cover with a lid. Reduce to a simmer for about 25-30 minutes. Let cool a bit and purée in a food processor or blender.

Pear Cake: Preheat oven to 400˚F with the rack in the center. Grease or line a 8″ round cake pan with parchment paper. Sift all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl. With a spatula, stir to combine the wet and dry ingredients in one bowl. Coat 1/2 cup walnuts with 2 tablespoons of flour. Add to the batter and stir gently to combine. Put the batter in the cake pan and top with additional walnuts and candied ginger pieces. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Carefully flip out of pan, remove parchment and flip again so nuts are on the top. Serve with whipped cream, thick greek yogurt and/or chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Sauce

Take a few tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder & make a sauce with a little boiling hot water. Stir in some vanilla stevia drops or your favorite natural sweetener to taste.

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  • Any other nut would be great in this recipe: almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia, pecans, etc.
  • Instead of pear, you could use apples or a combo of both.
  • Add some dried fruit to the batter and to top this cake. Raisins, cranberries, blueberries, diced apricots would be a fun twist.
  • Add some chocolate shavings to the top of a cooled cake.

Pear Cake Recipe Links

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