28 February 2013

Pear and Pecan Cake with Embellishment

Remember these pears? I blogged about them here .... but they have come back to haunt this kitchen in a new manifestation ...

The basic pear recipe got a bit of an upgrade when I made a pear and pecan cake and then used a sweet spicy raisin rum sauce to drizzle over top in lieu of a white sugary glaze. More fruit, a bit of a honey laden and boozy finish on a generous layer of pears that have been baked in the cake's surface. It was simple and surprisingly not too sweet!

Another triumph for Diane Henry with my own personal switch-up of her recipes. Another nice dessert or tea cake.

It all started with these dead ripe pears, peeled and sliced into thin crescents and placed over a batter that is very like a flourless torte (there is a bit of flour in this cake, though). The pears were very juicy and I think, perhaps, that they should be just ripe for a better effect with this cake, as I had to bake the cake a bit longer to get the center of the cake crumbed properly. Know what I mean?

Pear and Pecan Cake
a Diana Henry recipe


4 pears, peeled and cored, sliced at the last minute into crescents
1 c. pecans
9 tbsp. salted butter, cut into lumps)
½ c. sugar plus 1 tbsp. for sprinkling
3 large eggs
2 tbsp. milk
Grated zest of one lemon
¾ c. self-rising flour (I used ¾ c. all-purpose flour, 1 ⅛ tsp. baking powder, and ⅓ tsp. salt)

Making the Cake:

  1. Place the pecans, flour, sugar, and butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade and whiz until the nuts are completely pulverized and the butter has begun to form a crumbly mass with the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Whisk the eggs and milk together and add to the dry ingredients along with the lemon zest and whiz to form a smooth batter.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 350 °F and grease an 8 or 9-inch spring form pan. Line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper and grease the paper a bit also.
  4. Turn the batter into the pan and smooth it out.
  5. Cut the prepped pears into crescents and arrange all the way around the top of the cake in rings, completely covering the batter.
  6. Sprinkle with the reserved tablespoon of sugar and bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a cake skewer comes clean when inserted in the center of the cake.
  7. Remove the cake and let it rest for fifteen minutes on a rack. Then, run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan’s sides, remove the spring form sides and finish cooling the cake.
  8. When the cake is cool, place it on a pretty cake plate and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar OR make a sultana and pine nut glaze.

Sultana and Pine Nut Glaze


¼ c. pine nuts
¼ c. golden sultana raisins
1 – 2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. spiced rum or Calvados brandy
1 tbsp. butter

  1. In a shallow fry pan, toast the pine nuts until golden brown, turn them onto a cool plate and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, soak the raisins in the rum for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the honey and bring the heat up under the pan, bringing the mix to a boil. Let it bubble, stirring frequently until it begins to reduce to a syrup.
  4. Add the butter to thicken it a bit and then let the glaze cool a bit.

To glaze the cake, sprinkle the raisins and pine nuts over the surface of the cake, drizzle the syrups over all and let the glaze set up.

Sprinkle a light coating of confectioner’s sugar atop the cake and serve with hot tea.


  1. Mhh everything looks so delicious!
    Have a nice Thuersday

  2. It sounds delicious Susan. The juicy pears can only be a bonus.

  3. Susan, I love the idea of your glaze instead of the typical kind. It gives this cake a Mediterranean spin. Can't wait to try it!

  4. Everything at the Spice Garden does look wonderful!

  5. You had me at "spicy raisin rum sauce"

  6. One look and I was completely hooked by this cake. What gives it that luscious deep color Susan? And that glaze is so elegant---love this one!

    1. Hi Sue! There is one cup of pecans ground up (as you would with almonds) in the batter and the dark brown nuts work to make the cake that soft brown color ... this was really good cake ... but do use pears that are a bit under ripe so that the center of the cake doesn't get mushy from too much fruit juices. Enjoy!

  7. Mmm..the cake and the glaze, both fantastic! The raisins in the glaze are such a great idea, love it!


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