Fresh pears and cinnamon flavor a light pear custard like cake in this lightened, fall dessert.
When I asked about favorite cakes and pies on the Food Done Light Facebook page, a reader told me about a Caramelized Pear Custard Cake by From Garden to Soup Bowl. I was very much intrigued. Pears are my husband’s favorite fruit and I love anything with custard. It reminded me more of a pear upside down cake, and I knew it could be lightened easily. I also decided to streamline the recipe and skip the initial caramelizing of the pears. I knew the oven would do some of the work for me, so I just threw it all into a cake pan. This cake is magnificent. It is loaded with pear flavor and pears themselves, of course. The cake is light and flavorful. Everyone got a slice, and devoured it in seconds. Did I mention this cake is spectacular? Well, yes I did, but it is so good, it is worth saying again.
When I look at a recipe to lighten it, I always look at two things first, fat and sugar. This one had 1/2 cup butter which isn’t horrific for a cake. I wasn’t worried about two eggs. I’d rather cut the fat for the butter and leave the eggs whole. Sugar is easy. You can almost always cut out 1/4 of a cup without any issues. It doesn’t always work, but 8 out of 10 times it will. Adding cinnamon helps to trick your taste buds into thinking something is more sweet than it is. Plus, make this when pears are in season and are naturally sweet. I also swapped out a little of the white all-purpose flour for some whole wheat pastry flour, and swapped Greek yogurt for half of the butter.
I would absolutely make this cake for Thanksgiving. I could even see my husband asking for it for his birthday. It is going to be a family favorite for years. The only issue I ran into was my cake pan size. The original recipe calls for a 9 inch cake pan. I apparently only make cakes that are 8 or 10 inches. So I used an 8 inch pan, which meant I could only fit 3 pears into the botom. I really liked the ratio of cake to pears though. I think I would stick with 8 inch. I’ve managed to survive all these years without a 9 inch cake pan, so I’m going to be a maverick and continue to live without it.
I hope you will give this fabulous cake a try. Come back Tuesday for another fall food, Simply Roasted Beets.
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Pear Custard Cake
- 3 medium pears peeled
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. rum optional
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 4 tbsp. 2% fat Greek yogurt
- ¾ cup 90 gramsall-purpose flour
- ¼ cup 30 grams whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 2 eggs
Preheat oven to 325°.
Spray an 8” cake pan with baking spray.
Cut pears in half and remove the core and stem.
In a medium bowl, stir together pears, brown sugar, cinnamon and rum.
Place pears upside down in a round pattern into the bottom of the cake pan. You may need to cut one in half to make them fit.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar for 5 minutes.
Mix in yogurt and beat for 1 minute.
In a medium bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and baking powder.
Stir flour mixture into butter mixture until just combined.
In another bowl, mix together eggs and salt. Using a hand mixer, whisk until smooth and thick, about 2 minutes.
Gently mix the eggs into the batter.
Pour batter over pears. Use a spatula to even out the batter.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake.
Put a plate on top of the cake pan and invert.
Let cake cool.
Adapted from “From Garden to Soup Bowls” Happy Healthy Eating,
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