I don’t know about you, but when the winter hits, I want to cozy up with all things warm and spicy (Chai Latte, anyone?!). Harry & David produces some of the most magnificent pears in the country, and I just knew they would make the most decadent spice cake.
Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves accent this recipe to bring out all of the best winter flavors. The pears add sweetness and complexity to the cake to make this more than your grandma’s spice cake. A swirl of mascarpone in the frosting creates a creamier texture without the tang generally associated with a cream cheese finish. This one-bowl cake will be a crowd-pleaser this season! It’s quick and easy, while still being filled to the brim with flavor.
Making the pear spice cake
You’ll want a standing or hang mixer to produce the best batter and buttercream. Make sure to select ripe pears! There’s no need to skin them first since the baking process does this for you; the skins basically disappear and leave the soft, sweet fruit to blend beautifully with your baked treat. Fully cool the cake before frosting, and make sure to blend the ingredients well to produce a smooth and lump-free buttercream.
This cake can also easily be made dairy and/or gluten-free with a couple of substitutes. Simply use a 1:1 gluten-free flour in place of both the all-purpose and whole wheat, and use a plant-based butter as a 1:1 dairy butter replacement in both the cake and the frosting. The steps, baking temperature, and time remain the same.
This pear spice cake is a fun way to bring a spark of color and sweetness to your winter! Serve it for a birthday or as the sweet finish to a big family dinner.
Pear Spice Cake with Mascarpone Frosting
For the cake
- ½ cup salted butter (softened, 1 stick)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup Whole milk
- 1 cup Harry & David® Royal Riviera® Pears (chopped)
For the frosting:
- ½ cup unsalted butter (softened, 1 stick )
- ⅓ cup mascarpone cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
To make the cake
- Start by preheating your oven to 350°. Butter and flour or spray three 6” inch pans (or two 8” or 9” pans), and set aside. In a medium-size bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Mix well. Add eggs, mixing until thoroughly incorporated.
- Add spices, salt, baking powder, and both flours. Mix until just incorporated. Fold in pears. Divide batter evenly between 3 pans.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges are a golden brown. Cool completely.
To make the frosting
- Blend butter and mascarpone cheese until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and mix until well incorporated, about 30 more seconds.
To assemble the cake
- Spread or pipe the frosting onto the cooled cake before stacking the layers. Top with an additional sprinkling of cinnamon if desired.