This caramel apple and pear cake is rather sweet and rich so I like to use tart apples, combined with a layer of pear.
Haralson, Honeycrisp, Honeygold, Prairie Spy, Regent, Beacon, Red Baron and dozens of other varieties of apples have all been developed at the University of Minnesota. We may be known for our 10,000 lakes, but few people outside of the state realize that we are also a leader in apples.
I didn’t realize this until my friend Stephen Durfee came to visit. Yes, it took a pastry chef from California to show me what treasures were right in my own backyard. He set up a tasting with one of the “breeders” from the University and my education of apples began at a coffee shop on campus. We tried several of their latest and greatest developments and I realized for the first time the subtle and not so subtle differences of the fruit. The textures, acid, sugars and skins were all incredibly different, she talked about the characters as though we were tasting a bottle of fine wine.
I grew up in Vermont thinking that McIntosh apples were the end all, but realize now that there are apples to satisfy my every mood; crisp, luscious, sweet, spicy, tangy, juicy, tart, even nutty. I’ve learned to combine them in my recipes to get a more complex and interesting flavor and mouthfeel. Some of the apples will keep their shape when baked and others will turn to sauce. Depending on the variety you choose it may affect the amount of sugar that you use in the recipe. This delicious caramel apple and pear cake recipe was the inspiration for my very first post on ZoeBakes, before I owned a camera. I make it every year at this time, with different apples and this year I added the pears.
Caramel Apple and Pear Cake
Find the full recipe at the bottom of this post.
Prepare a tube pan with a parchment round. Grease the pan and the paper and then sprinkle with sugar. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Fan the sliced pears around the bottom of the pan.
Whisk together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl, set aside. In a stand mixer combine the oil, sugars, vanilla, Calvados and eggs. Add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Add the apples and nuts. Pour into the prepared pan, over the pears.
Bake for about 1 hour and 25 minutes in the center of the oven, until a tester comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for about 20 minutes before removing from the pan.
Carefully invert the cake onto a cake plate. Use one that has a slight lip to it to catch the caramel sauce.
In a small sauce pot combine all the ingredients for the caramel and bring to a gentle boil for 2-3 minutes. Allow the glaze to cool slightly, to thicken it, and pour over the top of the cake.
I served it with an apple cajeta ice cream that my friend Jen made me! It was out of this world. A dollop of whipped cream or just a cup of coffee would be a great match as well.
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons Calvados (apple brandy) or Brandy
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (1/4 teaspoon if freshly ground)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups peeled, cored and diced apples (Beacon, Haralson, Granny Smith or other tart variety)
- 1 cup chopped nuts (optional) – my eldest son is in a non-nut eating phase and so I left them out.
- 1 bosc pear, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- sugar for sprinkling on pan
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 tablespoons Calvados
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Prepare a tube pan with a parchment round. Grease the pan and the paper and then sprinkle with sugar. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Fan the sliced pears around the bottom of the pan.
- Whisk together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl, set aside. In a stand mixer combine the oil, sugars, vanilla, Calvados and eggs. Add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Add the apples and nuts. Pour into the prepared pan, over the pears.
- Bake for about 1 hour and 25 minutes in the center of the oven, until a tester comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for about 20 minutes before removing from the pan.
- Carefully invert the cake onto a cake plate. Use one that has a slight lip to it to catch the caramel sauce.
- In a small sauce pot combine all the ingredients for the caramel and bring to a gentle boil for 2-3 minutes. Allow the glaze to cool slightly, to thicken it, and pour over the top of the cake.
- Serve with ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream or a cup of coffee.
47 thoughts to “Caramel Apple and Pear Cake”
Wow, that is a pretty spectacular-looking cake. I’m still learning about the many varieties of apples and pears available here in Australia–this might be a perfect vehicle for some experimentation!
We just went picking for macintosh and honeycrisp. This is a delicious way to use them.
That cake is unreal gorgeous! Love the idea of combining pears and apples- the best time of year to do so.
I never would’ve thought a fan of pears would end up looking so beautiful and dramatic. Great fall recipe.
That is a spectacular looking cake! I’m sure it tastes amazing too!
This is just beautiful and I can almost smell that aroma! I love the way the fruit goes all transluscent – so pretty.
any tips for us high altitude folks in Denver?
Oh DEAR!! This looks gorgeous and delicious. Definitely bookmarking this to try!
I ate half the damn cake “just another small piece” at a time. It’s irresistible. You’ve been warned!
WOW! that looks unreal! Zoe your awesome 🙂 xx
That looks absolutely incredible!! Perfect for apple season here in N.Y
Oh,the cake looks to good. I’m going to have to bake that soon.
Zoe, I just had to say how absolutely beautiful your site is! I was looking for a corn/plum cake recipe and am just so thrilled it led me here. I look forward to being a regular reader/taster!
Wow! This looks so inviting..wish I could reach out and have a slice..looks so yum.
What an spectacular looking cake! Such a great combination for fall
I cannot find Calvados in my town; any substitutions?
I just stumbled on your blog-your baking looks awesome.
You can use any kind of Brandy or I’ve even made a version with Whiskey. I just use the booze to cut the sweet in the cake. If you don’t want the alcohol you could even use black tea!
I made the cake tonight. It looks great and tastes delicious. It smelled like Christmas while it was baking. I found the calvados at my local market but didn’t want to spend 20 dollars on a bottle for 2 tablespoons. I used some amaretto instead. I substituted unsweetened applesauce for half of the oil.
So glad you tried it and I love the changes that you made! I bet the amaretto was lovely with the apples and pear! the texture is already fairly dense so the substitution of the applesauce wouldn’t hurt the cake. I will have to try it!
Oooooh – that is gorgeous!
The cake seems relatively easy to make though I was a bit surprised at how long the list seems to be. I’ll have to give it a try.. especially for next Rosh Hashannah
Hello Zoe. first of all thank you for your comment. I am happy you liked the post on the brioche. I also made the pecan-cinnamon rolls (used walnuts, as pecans are somewhat of a rarity in Greece) and they were awesome. Anyway I love your site and will become a regular. You really like to teach people whatever you find interesting yourself. I guess you wouldn’t have written such a great book if it wasn’t part of your character!
I just wanted to stop by and say Hi! – And thank you for introducing yourself to me at Blogher last weekend. This cake looks delicious. I am a big fun of rustic cakes with lots of flavour. Unfortunately I don’t have the right kind of pan, so I can’t make it. Or maybe that’s what I should use my $25 voucher from the Blogher after party to buy..?
Wow, what a beautiful cake.
Thanks for the recipe & great blog!
What a gorgeous cake! I hope to try it this weekend with the suggested substitutions–applesauce for oil and black tea for Calvados (can’t buy liquor in the UAE yet). One question–I do not have a tube pan; could I substitute a round pan or a loaf pan? Thanks again for the inspiration!
Hello Zoe – Apples & Pears in the same cake sounds dreamy. I wanted to ask about the 1 cup whole wheat flour – that just seemed to hit a wrong note for me. Everything else in the recipe has my name all over it, though!
I’m not sure what your question is? Are you saying you want more whole wheat or to eliminate it and bake the cake with just all-purpose?
Where do you find whole wheat pastry flour? I have never seen it before- am I just not shopping in the right stores?
You can substitute white whole wheat for the pastry flour. If you want to use the whole wheat pastry flour you can probably find it in your local co-op?
Hope that helps! Zoë
This looks so beautiful, Zoe!
Also, I get whole wheat pastry flour in the bulk aisle at Whole Foods or my co-op. It can be hard to find in the bin because when it’s so fine, it actually looks white. In a pinch, you can also buy it from King Arthur’s Flour online.
Thank you very much for your recipe!!! I cooked it and the result was a success!!! Everybody… my family and friends loved this cake! The pictures of the cake that I cooked are in my blog http:bienmesabe1.blogspot.com. Greetings!!!
Thank you so much for trying the cake, I’m thrilled that you did and enjoyed it! I’ll stop by to take a look!
yum! as a gellow native vt’er i soooo miss mac apples! Saw them once at the market this coast and my jaw must have dropped when i saw the price. We used to have apple fights with them as kids!
got your new book yesterday! have loved drooling through it! (and into the second batch of your aunts granola….needing mom to mail more syrup though!) tried a few different recipe’s but love this one!
I have the same memories of having apple fights, wouldn’t dare do that today! 😉
So glad you are making the granola! It is my all time favorite!
For an all thumbs type of guy, I’m so surprised I actually pulled this off. A little trouble fanning the pears but all and all it was a huge hit at the fire department. My firefighter paramedic son ate four pieces at once. Guess that says its all. Thanks Zoe for sharing this recipe. Would love to see you and jeff here in Phoenix for a book signing. God Bless you – Kurt
This cake looks amazing….would it work using Mutsu/Crispin apples? They are my favorite to bake with….
I think it would be great with those apples. Let me know once you give it a try!
Thanks for trying the recipe, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Jeff and I will be in Phoenix Feb 1-3, 2010. You can find our schedule here: http://zoebakes.com/?page_id=20
Hope you can join us! Zoë
Zoe, this cake is awesome and has some of my favorite flavors. On my humble little blog is a gift for you. Thanks for such fantastic writing! Roz
I made this cake and love at home
I usually follow your work
Oh, this looks heavenly. And so easy to convert to gluten free. Thanks for sharing such a winner! It would be perfect to serve for Thanksgiving dessert (and Rosh Hashanah, too)!
Hi [email protected]:
Please, please share the gluten free conversion! The wheels are already turning in my head! Would love to make this really awesome looking cake. 🙂
I am having trouble locating a tube pan like the one pictured in your recipe. I finally found something similar on-line but need to know what size or capacity to order . Also could one substitute an Angel Food Cake pan, or would that be too flimsy and/or leak.
You can certainly use a tube pan intended for an angel food. The one I show here is actually the one I bought in college that is quite flimsy and I would have assumed it would leak, but it doesn’t. It is a 10″ pan. Not suitable for all cakes, but this one is just fine.
I love this cake I have made it 7 times in the past year, my family and friends love it!! I am not sure if you have answered this question, but never hurts to ask again, Can I use King Arthur whole wheat flour instead of the pastry flour? I am a little nervous changing flours But I have a lot of whole wheat flour. thank you 🙂
You can use your whole wheat flour, in fact I have been in the exact same position. The cake came out great, but with a slightly different texture.