4.86 from 7 votes

Pear Cake with Cardamom Glaze from Zoë Bakes Show

Host Zoe Francois with her pear cardamom cake, as seen on Zoe Bakes, season 1.

When I heard about the Scandinavian concept of Fika, I knew this pear cake would be on the menu and I was going to really dive into the theme by adding lots of cardamom and almond paste, which are flavors I associate most with baking from Scandinavia.

Host Zoe Francois prepares her tube pan to make her pear cardamom cake, as seen on Zoe Bakes, season 1.

If you have my book, Zoë Bakes Cakes, you will notice differences in the cake batter, but the trick of baking the pears into the batter is the same. It is a technique I came up with after watching one pear after another slump into the cake batter, no matter how thick it was. I am so enamored with the technique and the resulting look that it is worth using it twice, if not more! 😉 Try this recipe from the show and the one from my book and let me know which one is your favorite.

If you like this cake, be sure to check out my other Pear-Cardamom Cake with Cardamom Glaze and my Poached Pear Ginger Cake! You can find all my dessert recipes that call for pears here!

Need another idea for your Fika? This raspberry swirl bread is a great option.

Host Zoe Francois with her pear cardamom cake, as seen on Zoe Bakes, season 1.

Pear Cake with Cardamom Glaze

4.86 from 7 votes


  • 1 c (110g) cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 8 oz (226g) almond paste cut into small pieces (see note)
  • 1 1/4 cups (250g) sugar
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract make homemade vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 5 eggs room temperature
  • 5 ripe pears (peeled, cored, stems on) room temperature

Cardamom Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered (confectioners') sugar
  • 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp Poire Williams liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom



  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom.
  • Blend the almond paste, sugar, butter, almond extract, and vanilla in a food processor until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl between each and allowing the eggs to incorporate before adding the next. Add the flour and pulse several times until just combined. 
  • Fill the pan with batter, smooth the top. Add the pears, so they are poking up above the batter, securing with a skewer, so they don’t slump under the batter. Bake for about 50-55 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. 
  • Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, run a knife around the outside edge and remove from pan, set on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Then remove cake from the base of the tube pan.

Cardamom Glaze

  • Stir together the powdered sugar, cream, Poire Williams liqueur, and cardamom, adding the cream a bit at a time until the mixture is thin enough to pour over the cake, but thick enough to cling.


The almond paste needs to be soft or it won’t incorporate smoothly. If it is old and dried out, it will just stay in clumps.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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16 thoughts to “Pear Cake with Cardamom Glaze from Zoë Bakes Show”

    1. Hi Dianne, Zoë prefers to use tall pears, like Bosc, for this cake. It’s important to make sure they’re not too large so the cake can surround them and won’t break when you remove it from the pan. Happy baking!

  1. 5 stars
    I used the recipe/version as seen on the show. The cake took 75 minutes to bake, and had no trouble with pears slouching. It’s delicious and definitely a keeper! (At first, I was confused when finding a very different recipe in the Zoe Bakes cookbook, but read in your blog about the 2 different versions.)

  2. I have binge watched your shows and have a new love for baking! I have a question about the ground cardamom – do you grind the whole pod or just the seeds

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Mary! You can do either. Typically Zoë uses the whole pod if she’s cooking liquid and infusing with the flavor. In this recipe, if you use the whole pod you’d need to sieve it to remove the woody pod. I hope this helps!

  3. Hi! I love all your books and your show!
    I want to try this recipe but don’t have a tube pan.
    What can I substitute?

    1. Hi! You could try it in individual ramekins, as I know some people have tried that. You could also try it similar to this recipe in a loaf pan, but you’d need to make sure the batter doesn’t come up more than halfway up the side of the pan. Because of this you may have more batter and need to do it in multiple pans. Happy baking!

  4. 4 stars
    I made this cake and followed the recipe exactly. It came out just like the picture. I would recommend creating a parchment “sling” to help remove the cake from the tube.
    Any better ideas to more easily remove the cake from the pan? Or maybe just leave it on the tube and fill the tube with flowers.

  5. I have a question about the cardamom – do you grind the whole pod or just the seeds. Thank you. I have enjoyed watching your show and cooking from your cookbooks!

    1. Hi Mary! So glad to hear you like the show and Zoë’s cookbooks! When using cardamom pods you can do either the whole pod or just the seeds, but typically Zoë uses the whole pod when she’s cooking in a liquid. For this recipe it’s probably easiest to just grind the seeds as the pod is woody and you’d want to sieve it.

        1. Hi Joe, This cake is best removed from the pan with help! If two of you use spatulas it is much easier to do. Zoë likes to use Bosc pears, just make sure they’re not too large so there’s enough cake to surround them and it doesn’t fall apart when you remove it from the pan. Enjoy!

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Zoe! I hope you get this message-
    I have watched this episode twice and love your presentation
    and clever mechanics for keeping the pears upright. What an amazing cake!
    I have to make this now and can’t leave to go get sticks.
    If I’m making this right now and have no skewers…
    I am wondering if there is a plan B…
    A straw would hold up in the oven (?) but holes would
    ruin the beautiful pear-Any ideas? *-)

    1. Hi Coco,

      Before I came up with this trick, I would reach into the oven and pick them up by the stem if they slouched down. It is messy and you have to be careful, but it does work.

      Good luck! Zoë

    2. I used toothpicks, two per pear on either side. One anchored to the side of pan and the other anchored to the tube.

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