Pear and Ginger Cake with Walnuts

October 4, 2009

Pear and Walnut Cake
A few days ago my dad brought the most juicy pears home. They were small and so full of flavour that after downing as many as I could fresh, I decided to make a pear cake I’d been meaning to try ever since I saw the recipe in a cute little Marks and Spencer baking book my cousin gifted to me.
What intrigued me was the addition of ginger to complement the pear. A simple cake batter flavoured with a hint of dried ginger (though next time I’m going to try fresh or a combination of the two) and topped with sliced pears and a generous sprinkling of walnuts. SUPER YUM!
You know what’s the worst part of blogging about this cake? That I cannot eat it as I type, like all the other things I make.

Pear and Walnut Cake

Pear and Ginger Cake with Walnuts
Yield: 1 8/9inch cake that serves 8-10 people
Adapted from Easy Baking, Marks and Spencers

200g / 7 oz butter
200g / 7 oz sugar
200g / 7 oz all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground ginger
3 eggs
450g / 1 lb pears – peeled, cored and sliced
1 tbsp raw sugar or granulated sugar (for sprinkling)
50g / 2 oz walnuts, chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and grease a 8 (preferably) or 9 inch round tin and line it with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and ground ginger.
  3. In another bowl, beat the sugar and 175g/6oz butter together. Add the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed and add the flour mixture or fold it in by hand.
  5. Spoon this mixture into a prepared tin and arrange the pear slices on top of the cake. Sprinkle with the 1 tbsp of sugar, dot with the remaining butter and scatter the walnuts on the pears.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Let it cool slightly before cutting yourself a slice.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 letsgetstupid October 4, 2009 at 4:10 PM

oooh! it smells like fall ;) looks DELISH!!!


2 BribedwithFood October 4, 2009 at 2:50 PM

This looks lovely and I even have some walnuts I have been trying to get rid of.
Guess now I know what to do with them :)


3 The Purple Foodie October 4, 2009 at 3:16 PM

I love walnuts! You could also toast them and make something similar to these thyme toasted pecans!


4 Peabody October 4, 2009 at 3:21 PM

Looks so moist..and yes, the pear and walnuts make this perfect for Fall.


5 Cheri October 4, 2009 at 3:43 PM

Mmm.. looks and sound delicious!


6 Aparna October 4, 2009 at 6:21 PM

Yur cake has such a lovely crumb. Ginger, especially the tender kind, pairs beautifully with pears. I add it to my crumbles. :)


7 Palidor October 4, 2009 at 7:19 PM

What a perfect slice of cake! It looks just gorgeous and I bet it was incredibly tasty with those fresh pears.


8 booksandbakes October 4, 2009 at 8:34 PM

Mmmm, I love pear and ginger! If you're a fan of crumble, use pears for the bottom and add ginger to the topping (or just crush well some ginger biscuits, rub in butter, and stick that on top) – yummy!

Your photo looks amazing, as always,

Rosie of BooksAndBakes


9 Barbara October 4, 2009 at 8:40 PM

That photo is wonderful! It's perfect for a teacake. Or even a coffeecake? I adore pears. I would normally be tempted to substitute pecans for walnuts (I think walnuts are bitter) but with the sweet pears, walnuts would be a great balance.


10 The Purple Foodie October 4, 2009 at 9:07 PM

Thanks, all!

Aparna: I like the idea of adding ginger to the crumbles. I'd recently learnt to make crystallised ginger and I'm going to be adding to cakes, cupcakes, crumbles and wherever else I can!

Palidor: Oh yes it was!

booksandbakes: OOOh ginger biscuits in a crumble sound delicious. I have to keep that in mind the next time I make a crumble.

Barbara: Thank you so much Barbara :) I kinda like the astringent taste that comes with walnuts. And for me, pecans are hard to find here. I usually buy them by the bag from the US and save it for more "pecan crucial" recipes. hehe


11 The Purple Foodie October 4, 2009 at 9:23 PM

Nancy sent me this via e-mail – I had to publish it here because of some awesome ideas. Over to Nancy:

"This is the cake my mom would make as a coffee cake for mid morning snack time on Sunday morning's. The only difference is that she said we must use fresh ginger if at all possible, which I do to this day.. And she also drizzled caramel topping across the entire cake. She would dip a large serving spoon into the sauce and what ever the spoon could hold was all that she would drizzle on the cake, I on the other hand was a BAD GIRL !! I would add more than her. Usually 2 spoonfuls,, LOL LOL I know I know …Bad GIRL hehehehehe… But this recipe is a keeper for all eternity. I hope your readers enjoy it !!"


12 savorysimple October 4, 2009 at 9:30 PM

This looks delicious!


13 Carolyn October 4, 2009 at 10:57 PM

i love that plate!


14 Esther October 5, 2009 at 2:05 AM

Fantastic looking cake and glad the Daring Bakers challange worked for you. Love your blog too!


15 Bergamot October 5, 2009 at 5:57 AM

This is lovely cake…nice mosit cake with caramelised pears and toasted pecans. Simply yummy.This goes into my recipe book.


16 RecipeGirl October 5, 2009 at 9:33 AM

Looks delicious. I went apple picking today and came home with a few pears too. I'm trying to figure out what to do with them! This looks like a good idea!


17 Anushruti October 5, 2009 at 5:51 PM

The cake looks awesome Shaheen!


18 The Purple Foodie October 5, 2009 at 11:33 PM

Thank you, all! :)


19 Ann October 6, 2009 at 1:53 AM

I LOVE pears in cakes. This looks divine. Bookmarking asap!


20 Jeannette October 6, 2009 at 10:21 PM

oh this looks ah-may-zing! bookmarking!!


21 Danielle October 7, 2009 at 12:17 AM

Never thought of pairing pears and ginger together – love it!


22 Ingrid October 7, 2009 at 1:42 AM

Yum, that looks really good especially the top with the walnuts all toasted and pears caramel-y looking!


23 Karine October 7, 2009 at 8:40 AM

What a wonderful cake! Great way to enjoy pears :)


24 Alicia (The Red Deer) October 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM

I just found your blog through Baking Bites – I love your photography and this cake looks amazing!


25 Frenchie October 8, 2009 at 2:11 AM

I love the buttery sweetness of pears, to me they are the perfect fruit. This cake seems like it really showcases all their qualities, I wish I could eat it right now. I will have to make it instead!


26 The Purple Foodie October 8, 2009 at 2:17 AM

Thank you!


27 Mowie @ Mowielicious October 8, 2009 at 3:08 AM

That looks absolutely scrumptious! It reminds me of the apple cake my grandmother makes, and I think ginger in that would be divine! Must give it a try…


28 Madhuli October 8, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Lovely cake Shaheen.Could not locate your email ID on the blog. But have a question. Any idea where I can find a Candy thermometer in Mumbai? Will be travelling to Mumbai this weekend.Many Thanks.


29 The Purple Foodie October 8, 2009 at 12:38 PM

Thanks Mowie, I love your blog a lot!

the red deer: Thank you so much! Hope to see you around more often!

Madhuli: Whoops – there is an envelope icon in the about me part to email me. I think I should make it more clear. I'm afraid I don't think you can find a candy thermometer here. I bought mine from the States. :(


30 The Food Hunter October 8, 2009 at 8:54 PM

Sounds like a great recipe. I can't wait to try it.


31 Anonymous October 8, 2009 at 10:48 PM

Anyone tried making this with stem ginger?
How much do you think you'd need if so?


32 Lisa Gianotti October 9, 2009 at 1:21 AM

Shaheen – I adapted this recipe for our dessert last night. My kids who HATE pears ate the whole cake! Being Italian (American) I swapped out a bunch of our ingredients for the ginger, and added rum and raisins. YUM! I have to thank you for inspiring me.

I mentioned your blog on my website where I wrote a page about this YUMMY cake.


33 Madhuli October 9, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Got it Shaheen and Thanks for the speedy reply


34 The Purple Foodie October 9, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Anon: I'd use use 1 tsp freshly ground ginger for this. You can vary the amount depending upon how spicy you'd like it. Once mixed in, you can take a quick taste of the cake batter before you move forward.

Lisa: Rum and raisin in this sound great! Thanks for trying this out. :)

Madhuli: You're most welcome :)


35 Lisa October 10, 2009 at 2:42 PM

Perfect! I needed to make a cake for my father tomorrow for his Birthday and this looks like just the type of cake that he would love :)


36 Jackie October 12, 2009 at 7:48 AM


I was wondering what type of pears did you use for this recipe and also did you toast the walnuts before sprinkling on the top of the pears.


37 The Purple Foodie October 12, 2009 at 1:13 PM

YAY Lisa I'm so happy to hear that! I hope he loved it. :D

Jackie – Here in Bombay, we are quite limited by the choice of pears so I use the once that are available to me. But the book called for "Dessert pears" so you can try it with that. Also, I didn't toast the walnuts because they'd get toasted while baking since they were sprinkled on top.


38 s October 12, 2009 at 10:24 PM

they look mind-blowingly delicious…


39 bakmammorna October 13, 2009 at 11:51 PM

it lookes wonderful! i´m so glad i found this blog- you make so many good things :-)


40 The Purple Foodie October 15, 2009 at 12:52 AM

Thanks, S.

Bakmammorna: Hope to see you around more often!!


41 bren October 23, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Love this. ginger and pear is such a perfect match! niiiice.


42 Amy September 18, 2011 at 3:02 AM

Gorgeous cake – used fresh ginger and no walnuts as I couldn’t find any. Also, put pear into the batter, too. The cake took almost an hour at this temperature – probably because of the extra pear.


43 Trudy September 25, 2011 at 5:35 AM

Can you freeze this recipe after it cools? Sounds taste.


44 The Purple Foodie September 28, 2011 at 1:48 AM

I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why not.


45 Rachael October 4, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Hi is looks delish. I am about to start making it for my grandad who is doing some buliding at my house at the moment. I was just wondering what kind of sugar do you use?? eg. Granulated/caster.. i have always thought caster goes into the mixture better.
thank you


46 The Purple Foodie October 5, 2011 at 1:31 AM

Yes, caster does work better. But I always have granulated sugar around and that’s what I use the most.


47 vandita May 31, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Hi Shaheen,
Let me tell you first that your blog has become my fav these days, have tried couple of cakes..and all of them turned grt esp cinnamon with caramel apple……and this one too is superb….just one thing that I want to know, if we want to make the cake more moist what should we add? milk or buttermilk? I like more moist cake so….


48 The Purple Foodie June 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Either but i usually prefer yoghurt cakes.


49 Sue August 20, 2012 at 10:21 PM

Want to try this, but I need standard measurements please…. cups/ tsp, etc.\Thanks


50 Bhavna July 18, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Hi Shaheen,

I am an ardent fan of your site and follow your blogs regularly. I think your recipes are far better than any others.

I tried this recipe today and the only thing I feel is missing in the recipe is that the pears should have been dusted with flour for them to stay on top of the cake. Mine sank down in the cake.



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