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German Wholemeal Pear Cake

November 20, 2013

German Pear Cake – an Italian recipe

This is an German-Italian cake made by a home counties English girl (me). How European.

My Italian friend at work made this for me several times before he left, it was always my favourite cake from our various baking exchanges. I asked him for the recipe, so he translated it for me from his mum’s notes in Italian. Sometimes he used to caramelise the pears beforehand to give them colour. I quite like the fact that it looks a bit pale and puny but is actually a really robust and meaty cake. I think the wholemeal flour is what makes it.

I made this cake for a bring and share lunch this weekend. I was worried that it had come out too dry and nearly didn’t take it. I’m so glad I did though as a (very talented) German violin player friend collared me to say that the cake reminded him of the best apple/pear cakes from his mum’s kitchen and that he missed them and was really enjoying the taste of home. I think that’s the best compliment a baker could wish to receive. I know some cakes look impressive and I know it’s a cliché but all I ever really want is to make people smile. I don’t want my bakes to be the focus, I want them to be a social lubricant, the unexpected boost on a boring day, or something to bring back pleasant memory. Thanks Italian Gent and Violin Virtusoso – I’ll be making this again.

Crumbly base

German-style Wholemeal Pear Cake

135g unsalted butter, softened
120g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
Pinch of cinnamon
75g wholemeal self raising flour
75g ground almonds
3 pears, firm, not too ripe

Grease a spring form tin and line the bottom with parchment paper. (you don’t have to, but it makes the cake easier to take out. If you use a regular cake tin, probably only need to grease it with a bit of butter)

Cut the pears into quarters, peel and core them; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the cinnamon. Add 1 egg at a time, adding a small spoonful of the flour each time, so the mixture doesn’t curdle. Mix the eggs in well, then add the remaining flour and almonds. Mix until well combined, and spoon into the cake tin. The mixture is pretty thick, so you will have to push the batter around to make sure it is evenly spread in the tin.

Place the pears on top, fanning out around the tin. (small thin end facing in) The weight of them will make them sink a bit, but the cake also rises a lot. You could sauté them in a bit of butter and sugar before this, if you have really unripe pears and need them to soften up.

Bake at 170C for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean in the middle. It’s best to let it cool for a bit before eating, the flavor is better.


One Comment leave one →
  1. karen278 permalink
    November 21, 2013 4:33 pm

    What beautiful photos Gill and such a lovely recipe too, I adore pears in baking, and this cake looks so autumnal and comforting.

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