Cardamom Pear Cake | A Not Too Sweet Bosc Cake

Most people bake pear cakes and desserts in Autumn, when pears are in season. When there's nothing better than enjoying a slice of warm, spiced Cardamom Pear cake alongside a steaming cup of coffee on a crisp Fall morning.

Cardamom pear cake on a plate with a silver cake slicer. Cake decorated with fanned pear slices, cardamom pods and cut pears.

But I just can't wait until Autumn.

Last week, I was out for a stroll on a brisk Spring morning and the moment I saw these glorious pear trees in full bloom, I decided there's no waiting until Fall to bake myself a pear torte. 

Pear tree with white blossoms with a red house in the background
Pear trees in bloom

In the olden days, we'd have to wait a few months for these lovely white, pear blossoms to turn into pears. But now, I'm off to the supermarket to select my pears from a wide variety available year round.

For my Cardamom Pear cake, I've chosen to use almost-ripe Bosc pears, sliced into a fruit fan and placed on the top of the cake batter just before baking. The pears bake into the cake and make for the prettiest patterns when cut.

A slice of pear cake on a white plate with a silver fork. White napkin with printed lettering and green twig
A slice of Cardamom Pear cake with a light dusting of powdered sugar

Surprisingly easy to make, this is a beautiful cake to bake when you're expecting guests that you'd like to impress. It can be made a day in advance. Just be sure to store it in a covered cake plate stand so that it remains fresh and moist.

Do note that this is a low cake, almost like a fruit torte,  which has just the right balance between fruit of poached-like consistency and cake. 

My favorite part of this pear torte is that it is not cloyingly sweet. Mildly sweet, it has just the right amount of sweetness needed for an afternoon pick-me-up.

Slice of cardamom pear cake on a white plate with cut pears in background
A slice of Pear Cardamom cake. Do note that this is a low cake with a good balance of poached fruit and cake.

This Bosc Pear cake is well-spiced with cardamom, so expect to be surprised by a pleasantly different and yet distinctive flavor of cardamom when taking your first bite of this scrumptious and aptly named Cardamom and Pear Cake or Torte.

My Tips and Tricks for the Best Pear Cardamom Cake

1. Choose the Right Pears for Baking
2. Measure Flour Correctly for a Moist Cake
3. Fan Cut the Pears for a Beautiful Presentation
4. Dip Cut Pears in Flour to Prevent Sinking

1. Choose the Right Pears (All your pear questions, asked and answered)

  • Which pear is best for baking? 

For this recipe, I used Bosc pears. Also known as the Kaiser, this cultivar of the European pear (Pyrus communis) has a beautiful, traditional, feminine "pear shape". With a long tapered neck, a warm, cinnamon-brown matte skin and a dense, crisp yet juicy white flesh, it the "aristocrat of pears". Popularly used in photography for its beautiful form, Bosc pears are also a lovely variety of pear to use in baking recipes, as they maintain their form during cooking and don't release a lot of juices.

Whole and half bosc pears with cardamom pods on a black table
Bosc pears and cardamom pods

  •  What is a good substitute to Bosc Pears?

This Pear Cardamom cake can be made with other varieties of pears too. So if you can't get your hands on Bosc pears, try Red or Green Anjou, Bartlett, Comice, Concord, Forelle or Seckel. See the texture and flavor rating for each of these 10 varieties.

  • How ripe should pears be for baking?

The pears should be just short of ripe for baking- still firm on the outside and the skin should still be taut and not wrinkly.

The riper the pears, the softer and juicier they become when cooked. So, a very ripe pear will not hold its shape well when baked and will release a  lot of liquid during baking which can make the cake a little extra moist and possibly soggy where the fruit touches the cake. However, ripe pears are definitely sweeter. So, it's a tradeoff between having sweet, extra soft fruit in the cake or firmish, less sweet fruit in the cake. My preference is the latter.

  • Should I peel pears before baking?

For my Cardamom Pear Cake, I prefer not to peel the pears. The brown skin of the Bosc pears contrasts nicely with the soft white interior when baked and shows up beautifully against the golden cake.

2. Measure Flour Correctly for a Moist Cake

Too much flour leads to a dry cake. So, it's important to get the flour measurements precise. My recipe below gives flour measurements both in weights and in measures. Ideally, weigh the flour.

However, if you don't have a weighing scale, then use the measure option.
  1. To measure one cup of all-purpose flour, first loosely spoon the flour into a one-cup measure creating a pyramid of flour. Don't shake the measuring cup or compact the flour.
  2. Then, take a knife and level off the flour with one swift stroke against the rim of the measuring cup.
  3. Sift the flour along with the baking powder. 
  4. Then loosely spoon the sifted flour back into the measuring cup. 
  5. Level off any excess. 
  6. There may be about a teaspoon or two of excess flour. Discard the excess.

3. Fan Cut the Pears for a Beautiful Presentation

Fan cutting fruit is a way to slice pears and create a pretty pear cake decoration.

How to Decore and Fan Cut a Pear

  • Cut a pear into two longitudinally.
  • Use a melon baller or a small teaspoon to decore each half of the pear.

Half a pear with center removed and decored with a melon baller
Decore a pear using this handy dandy melon baller tool

  • Lay the cut half of the pear face down on a cutting board.
  • Starting at almost the top of the pear, use a sharp knife to cut the pear into thin slices. Don't cut right through the top of the pear, but keep each thin slice attached at the top of the pear. 
  • Hold the knife at a slight angle when slicing. This will make it easier to fan out the pear.
  • After slicing the pear, without lifting the pear off the cutting board, slowly and carefully fan out the slices (like fanning out playing cards) without detaching the slices from the top of the pear.

Sliced pear fans on a cutting board with knife, pear half and melon baller
Use a sharp knife to make pear fans

4. Dip Cut Pears In Flour Before Baking

Before placing the fanned pears into the cake batter, dip the cut side of the pears into a saucer of flour. The flour will absorb any extra fruit juices released while baking and will prevent the portion of the cake that comes in contact with the fruit from getting too soggy. Fruit coated in flour will also prevent the fruit from sinking too deep into the cake batter when baked.

Bosc pear fanned fruit slices placed on cake batter in a baking time
Place pear fans in batter. 

Tip: Before placing the fanned pears onto the cake batter, have a general idea on where you want to place the fruit for the most appealing presentation. Once the fruit is placed on the cake batter, it will be very difficult to move it.

Just place the fruit on the top of the batter. Don't push it in.

Here's the pear torte after baking. Golden goodness. All that's required now is a light dusting of powdered sugar and it's ready to be cut and enjoyed.

Brown cake with baked sliced pear fruit on a white plate, silver serving spoon, green sprigs and white napkin with lettering
Baked cake with pear fans

Cardamom Pear Cake Recipe with Bosc Pears


☐ 2 Bosc Pears
☐ 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons or 130g unsalted butter
☐ 1/2 cup or 118g sugar
☐ 2 eggs
☐ 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned, leveled and then sifted back into a 1 cup measure) or 118.5g weighed flour
☐ 1 teaspoon baking powder
☐ 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
☐ 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder or 20 cardamoms dehusked and only the seeds ground fine

Step by Step Instructions:

Step 1: Prep

  • Line a 9 inch, round springform baking tin with parchment paper. Grease tin and dust with flour.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  • Sift measured flour and baking powder together and set aside.
  • Cut pears into two. Remove center core. Slice each half into thin slices.

Step 2: Make Cake Batter

  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time and cream together well. The mixture might curdle. Don't worry if it does.
  • Add cardamom powder and vanilla essence and beat well.
  • Add the flour mixture a little at a time, beating between each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl down with a spatula. 

Step 3: Place Pear Fans in Batter

  • Spoon the batter into the center of the prepared cake tin. The batter will be thick and will not seem like a whole lot. 
  • Using a spatula, gently spread the batter outwards to the edges of the cake tin.
  • Dip the cut side of the pears into a light dusting of flour, before arranging the pears carefully on the surface of the cake. (The flour will prevent the pears from sinking too deep into the cake when baked). Just place the pears on top. Don't push them into the batter.

Step 4: Bake

Bake in a pre-heated 350° F for 45 minutes. Do not open oven while baking. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into center of cake. It should come out clean.

Related Recipes:

Try my Apricot and Cinnamon Torte (Aprikosenkuchen)

Round Apricot and almond cake with a cut aprictor half


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