An elegant, flavorful, and incredibly moist cake infused with the sweetness of fresh fall pears and frosted with the smoothest, lightest whipped brown sugar buttercream!
Ahhh….fall is finally here.
Well, not officially. But tomorrow IS the first day of September, so in my book it pretty much is.
There’s no season that gets me quite as excited as fall. Not only is it the most beautiful time of the year, but more importantly, it has the best flavors. Pumpkin, cinnamon, apples, pears, salted caramel, maple…my mouth is watering just thinking of all the recipes I have planned for this season. And odds are YOUR mouth will be watering when you see the recipe I’m sharing with you today…
Fresh Pear Cake with Whipped Brown Sugar Buttercream
The blissfully warm aroma that fills your home as this cake is baking is reason enough to make it. Forget those Bath & Body Works scented candles. All you need is to bake THIS cake.
Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy my B&BW dessert-scented candles, but sometimes they can be such a tease. (I may or may not have bitten a chunk or two out of my Vanilla Cupcake candle…don’t judge me.)
Unlike candles, this cake is not a tease and you can it eat WITHOUT getting sick. It tastes a lot better too.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge fan of chunks of fruit in my cake when it comes to apple or pear cakes. So for this cake, I pureed the pears before adding them to the batter. In doing so, I thinly sliced the pears and allowed them to soften in the sugars (white and brown) for about an hour before pureeing. Not only do the pears provide a lot of the sweetness, but they also make this cake unbelievably moist.
Not a dry crumb for days…if it even lasts in your house that long 😉
Since this cake is plenty sweet on its own, I decided to go with a light, less overpowering whipped brown sugar buttercream. Brown sugar seemed like the obvious choice since the warm sweetness of the molasses pairs really well with pears.
PAIRS really well with PEARS…get it? 😉
Ok, I’ll stop.
Unlike most buttercream frosting recipes, this buttercream starts with a cooked flour-milk base which is cooled and then added to the butter-sugar mixture. Now it might sound a little odd to be using flour in a frosting recipe, but just trust me on this one, guys. The buttercream is so light and airy, yet lusciously smooth and silky at the same time.
I will say that there are a few tricks to getting the right texture as well as avoiding any frosting frustrations.
First off, make sure to whip the butter and brown sugar together long enough so that the brown sugar granules are able to dissolve into the butter. It should be smooth and fluffy so that you don’t end up with a grainy texture.
Secondly, the flour-milk mixture MUST be completely cool (room temperature or cooler) before it’s added to the butter and brown sugar mixture to prevent separation.
Lastly, once the flour-milk mixture is added, the frosting WILL look curdled, but don’t worry! This is SUPPOSED to happen, and all you have to do is continue whipping the frosting on high and it will eventually turn into this smooth and silky cloud of perfection…
Once you’ve frosted the cake (not your tongue) with your perfectly whipped brown sugar buttercream, add a few toasted chopped pecans, and you have one heck of a showstopper to welcome fall!
- 6 ripe medium-sized pears (19 ounces, peeled and cored)*
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 7 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cups milk
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 Tablespoons pecans, chopped and toasted
- Peel and slice pears thin. Mix sliced pears with both sugars in a bowl. Let sit for one hour, then purée pear mixture in a food processor or blender.
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, then grease with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, use a fork or whisk to stir flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg together. Add pear purée, eggs, oil, and vanilla and stir just until combined.
- Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 30-33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with few crumbs attached. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk flour and milk together, stirring constantly, until it thickens. It should look like thick pancake batter. Remove from heat and immediately pour milk mixture into a bowl to cool completely.*
- After the milk mixture has come to room temperature, use a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a beater to cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt together on medium high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the completely cooled milk mixture, and beat it for about 5-7 minutes on high until it looks like whipped cream. The mixture will look curdled at first, but as you continue whipping it, it should come together. If you can still see streaks of butter, keep beating it until you can’t. (See picture above.)
- To assemble, slice each cake layer in half horizontally, so that you end up with 4 cake layers total. Place one cake layer on a plate or cake pedestal and spread with 1/4 of the buttercream. Repeat, alternating layers of cake and filling, ending with a layer of buttercream. Sprinkle chopped pecans around the border of the cake. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- *Depending on the size of your pears, you might not end up using 6 pears exactly. If you end up with more than 19 ounces by the time you've peeled and cored your pears, just use 19 ounces of it.
- *The milk mixture can be refrigerated to speed up the cooling process.