You are going to love this Pear Tea Cake! It is simply loaded with pears and has a light lemon scent.
This Pear Tea Cake is great for morning tea or even for breakfast but serve it with a scoop of really good vanilla ice cream and maybe a little whipped cream and you're in for a dessert treat!
Where did this recipe originate?
The recipe for this cake is adapted from one by the lovely Lorraine Elliott of Not Quite Nigella. I met Lorraine in 2012 when I had been blogging for three years. Lorraine had been blogging at Not Quite Nigella since 2007 and had been making a living from her blog for quite some time. Lorraine is beautiful inside as she is on the outside and willingly spoke to our little group, giving inspiration and, most of all, direction. Since then I have been totally motivated by Lorraine. Whether it's her amazing photography, interesting and fun stories or fabulous recipes, she is a blogger I have learnt so much from.
Consequently, I regularly pop into Not Quite Nigella to see what Lorraine has been up to and try some of her recipes. This one caught my eye a couple of years ago. Lorraine's version contained chocolate chips but it was the gorgeous hasselback pears on the top that caught my eye. A version of this cake is served the Hotel Ai Lumi in Trapani, Sicily for breakfast as is often the case in Italy. And the same as my yogurt cake recipe, which is one of those Italian breakfast favourites, this Pear Tea cake is also perfectly at home on the dessert table. I have adapted this recipe slightly and the results speak for themselves.
Tips for success
Use ripe pears that are not super soft. Don't press the pears heavily into the batter as they will disappear from sight as the batter bakes and rises. And most of all, check if the cake is done by inserting a skewer under the pears as this is where the batter will take the longest to cook through.
Pear Tea Cake Recipe
- ½ cup (125ml) light olive oil
- ¾ cup (150g) superfine (caster) sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- finely grated zest of one lemon or ½ teaspoon lemon oil/extract
- 5 tablespoons (75ml) thick Greek yogurt
- 2 cups (250g) cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch salt
- 5 pears
- Preheat oven 350ºF/180ºC. Grease a 9in/23cm springform pan.
- In an electric stand mixer bowl place oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Using the whisk attachment whisk together at medium/high speed until thick and pale. Mixture will increase in volume.
- In the meantime peel pears, halve and core. Cut 2 pears into small pieces. With remain pear halves cut side down, slice thinly, hasselback style, being careful not to cut all the way through.
- Add the lemon rind/extract and yogurt and whisk on slow until just combined.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt.
- With mixer on slow add in flour mixture until just combined.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently stir in the 2 chopped pears.
- Scrape the cake batter into the prepared pan.
- Top with 6 pear halves, cut side up. Press only lightly into the batter as the batter will rise.
- Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Test with a skewer under the pears. Please see my notes regarding cooking time.
- Allow to stand for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool. Or eat it warm!
- Cooking time may vary. I have had a reader say that her cake was done in 45 minutes. In my oven this cake to an hour and 15 minutes for the batter under the pears to be fully cooked.
- Some tips on baking times for cake -
- The cake starts to pull away from the sides slightly
- The batter is springy and there is no more jiggle
- A skewer insert into the middle of the cake comes out clean. I find if a cake has a crack, insert the skewer there, that's where it will be the least cooked. In the case of this Pear Tea cake, push the skewer sideways under the pear, that's where it will be the least cooked.
- Listen to the cake, it will have stopped sizzling.
- Let your nose be your guide. You will find the house will be filled with a glorious smell just before the cake is done.
Nutritional Information Per Serving
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.
Thank you so much for writing a recipe with all units converted!! I am French but live in Australia so really appreciate not having to overthink the conversions. I love the presentation of this cake. Mine baked for 45 min. But I made some changes:
- added poppy seeds
- didn't use zest as I didn't have organic lemons
- 250 g Flour replaced by 75 g almond meal/ 75 g oat flour/ 50g corn flour/ 50g fine semolina
Yumm! Thank you
Floriane, that sounds delicious. I'm so glad you could work in gluten free flours to create a wonderful recipe to enjoy!
The cake was good and I’ll make it again. Not so sweet! I notice that neither of the commenters above had made the cake.
A couple of comments from me: You don’t say how many pears... I used two very large ones and chopped the pointy ends into the small pieces, then cut the cored pears into three pieces each.
The cake took about 45 mins, but I left it in for another 15 mins because your recipe said 1hr 15. Mine was slightly over-cooked at an hour. My oven doesn’t cook very hot, so I wasn’t cooking the cake too quickly. I think a thin cake like this shouldn’t take more than an hour, especially in quite a big tin!
Hi Jenny ! Thank you so much for your very detailed reply! I’m glad you enjoyed the cake. Thank you for bringing to my attention the omission of the quantity of pears. There are five pears needed. I will correct this. In my oven it did take 1 hour 15 minutes but I’m glad you used your cooking knowledge to remove your cake earlier. I will retest the cake just in case. I really appreciate you taking the time to write an honest and detailed review. Marcellina xx
This is such a gentle cake and I so look forward to baking it, and eating it! I can already smell the warm pear and olive oil. My favourite food blogger is Lorraine Elliot. Her stories, spirit and recipes delight and divert me, and also inspire me with mini projects and fun.
Marcellina In Cucina
Oh, what beautiful words, Katrina! Thank you! Yes, Lorraine is amazing!
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
Aww darling what a lovely surprise to see this cake on your blog and to read your lovely words. I still remember the wonderful day we had together! You and Trish were so welcoming and warm! Xxx
Marcellina In Cucina
Thank you for such a lovely comment, Lorraine! It's all true and more...you deserve ever success in life xx