We have been enjoying very sweet local Bartlett pears the past couple of months and my favorite recipe that takes advantage of them has been this pear olive oil cake. The combination of pear, almond, and warming spices creates a lovely autumn dessert. The inspiration for this recipe came from the French blog Manger. If you are looking for a cake to go along with pies for Thanksgiving, try this recipe. It is good either warm or cool. Serve with cream, ice cream, or simply sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Pear Olive Oil Cake
3/4 c. vanilla granulated sugar or regular granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 c. olive oil (not extra virgin)
1-1/2 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
pinch of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond emulsion or extract
3 large ripe pears, peeled and cut into cubes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch cake pan or a 12×6 rectangular baking pan. Line pan with parchment. In a mixing bowl combine sugar, eggs, and olive oil. Beat on medium speed for 4-5 minutes until mixture thickens. Sift dry ingredients and spices together. Gradually add to the egg mixture until well mixed. Add lemon zest and extracts. Mix until smooth. Pour into prepared pan and use a spatula to spread batter evenly to the edges of the pan. Press pear cubes into the batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes clean. Cool on rack for 5 minutes, then lift parchment to remove cake from pan. Let cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serves 8.