Novel Baking: Cardamom Cake with Whole Pears


I’m joining The Novel Bakers with

Home Made Winter.

I swooned when saw the pear cake on the

cover of this cookbook and had to try it.


I made this cake twice, the first time was a hot mess.

 The recipe is written with European butter in mind and reads:

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (200 g) butter.

Wow I thought, that’s a lot of butter, 3 sticks for a loaf cake! Then I continued on my merry mary way not looking up the tablespoon equivalent of 200 grams. The moral of that story is follow your instincts and don’t be in such a hurry.

Yes that is WAY too much butter, almost twice too much. 200 grams is equal to 14 tablespoons of butter, or 1 1/2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons.

Moving on to the best part of this cake. . .


The pears and the poaching liquid. . .

Oh My.

The pears are poached in wine, sugar, cloves, star anise, cinnamon and cardamom.

Cardamom, where have you been all my life?


Here’s the recipe from Home Made Winter,

with my notes added:

Cardamom Cake with Whole Pears & White Chocolate

 1 loaf cake (8-10 servings)


For the Pears:

3 medium-sized crisp, Bosc pears, peeled but whole, with the stem left on (Bosc pears hold their shape with the poaching and baking time, I could only find large ones)

1 (750-ml) bottle dry white wine

1 1/4 cups sugar

4 cloves

3 star anise pods

8 cardamom pods

2 cinnamon sticks

For the Cake:

14 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks plus 2 tbsp) softened

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (If you don’t have self-rising flour, sift/whisk together 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder with 3/4 teaspoon salt for 1 1/2 all purpose flour. There is a handy conversion calculator here.)

1 generous tbsp ground cardamom

pinch of salt

And further:
*3 oz white chocolate, in chunks (*I dusted with powdered sugar instead of using white chocolate)



Poach the pears: In a large saucepan, combine the pears, wine, sugar, cloves, star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon and poach for 30 minutes over low heat.

 Take the pears out of the liquid and set aside to cool. Add 2 1/2 cups (500 ml) water to the poaching liquid and boil to reduce the liquid by half. Let cool.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper.


Using a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy. Beat in the eggs one at the time. Don’t add a new egg until the previous one is incorporated. Sift the flour, cardamom, and salt over the batter and fold it in.

 Spoon the batter into the pan.


Press the pears in the batter, stem end up.

My tip:  Cut off the bottoms off the cooled pears before adding them to the batter so they are flat, and don’t tilt while baking. Lesson learned from the first hot mess cake.

Bake for *40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake part comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan, then gently remove the cake from the pan to a rack to cool completely. (*My cake took closer to 55 minutes to bake, but I kept opening the oven to check. Tent with foil during last 10 minutes or so of baking time to prevent over browning.)


 *Very carefully melt the chocolate:

Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir the chocolate in the bowl until melted. Using a spoon, drizzle the chocolate over the cake and create nice stripes on top. *(I skipped this step and dusted with powdered sugar instead).

Let the chocolate dry for a bit and serve the cake in thick slices, with the reduced pear syrup.


The reduced spiced pear syrup, aka nectar of the gods, is worthy of its own post! In addition to spooning over the cake, it makes a perfect ingredient for a cocktail!

Sparkling Spiced Pear Cocktail

Take your reserved spiced pear syrup, (amount is up to you) and add to a champagne flute, along with a few pear slices.


Top with sparkling wine of choice, Prosecco or Cava.

I used Cava which has a few more bubbles than Prosecco, its Italian cousin, and is also drier, for the pear syrup.


If you’re looking for an affordable sparkling wine to serve for a crowd (or for just for two :) Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava is a perfect party starter and great value at $7.99, with an 88 point rating from Wine & Spirits Magazine.

Printable Recipe 


I’m joining The Novel Bakers for

Home Made Winter this week. . .

Novel Bakers

Visit Jain and Michael Lee

for more Home Made Winter fun~

 a quiet life

Rattlebridge Farm 

Follow The Novel Bakers on Pinterest for Home Made Winter.

Cardamom Cake with Whole Pears

Thank you for your visit, sharing at:

Metamorphosis Monday

  42 comments for “Novel Baking: Cardamom Cake with Whole Pears

  1. January 29, 2014 at 5:20 am

    We are cardamom lovers! I heat up cream and cardamom for my coffee. I just pinned this cake and took note of your helpful tips.

  2. poussière d'Argence
    January 29, 2014 at 5:33 am

    Je vous remercie beaucoup pour ce cake original et qui a l’air très bon, mais je ne comprends pas les proportions, pourriez vous donner la traduction en français, j’en serais très heureuse car je voudrais faire ce cake.
    Merci beaucoup de votre réponse.
    Amitiés de France.

    • January 29, 2014 at 6:52 am

      Here’s a translation from google:

      Gâteau de cardamome Whole poires et chocolat blanc
       1 pain gâteau ( 8-10 portions )


      Pour les poires :

      3 nettes , poires Bosc moyennes , pelées mais entières, la tige gauche sur ( poires Bosc conservent leur forme avec le braconnage et le temps de cuisson , je ne pouvais trouver grands )

      1 ( 750 ml ) bouteille de vin blanc sec

      1 1/4 tasse de sucre

      4 gousses

      3 gousses d’anis étoilé

      8 gousses de cardamome

      2 bâtons de cannelle

      Pour le gâteau :

      14 cuillères à soupe de beurre ( 1 1/2 bâtons plus 2 cuillères à soupe) ramolli

      1 tasse de sucre

      4 œufs

      1 1/2 tasses de farine auto-levante

      1 généreuse cardamome moulue à soupe

      pincée de sel

      Si on le souhaite :

      * 3 oz chocolat blanc , en morceaux ( * je saupoudré de sucre en poudre au lieu d’utiliser le chocolat blanc)

      préparation :

      Pocher les poires : Dans une grande casserole , combiner l’ poires , vin , sucre , clous de girofle , anis étoilé , cardamome et la cannelle et laisser pocher pendant 30 minutes à feu doux .

       Prenez les poires du liquide et laisser refroidir . Ajouter 2 1/2 tasses (500 ml ) d’eau au liquide de pochage et faire bouillir pour réduire le liquide de moitié . Laisser refroidir .

      Préchauffer le four à 350 ° C. Beurrer un moule à pain de 9 x 5 pouces et une ligne avec du papier sulfurisé. Beurrer le papier sulfurisé .

      L’utilisation d’un mélangeur à main , battre le beurre et le sucre dans un grand bol jusqu’à consistance crémeuse . Battre les oeufs un à la fois . Ne pas ajouter un nouvel oeuf jusqu’à ce que le précédent est incorporé . Tamiser la farine , la cardamome et le sel sur la pâte et plier po

       Verser la pâte dans le moule .

      Appuyez sur les poires dans la pâte , extrémité de la tige vers le haut.

      Astuce: Couper les fonds au large des poires refroidies avant de les ajouter à la pâte si elles sont plates , et ne s’inclinent pas pendant le temps de cuisson .

      Cuire au four pendant * 40 minutes, jusqu’à ce qu’un cure-dent inséré dans la partie du gâteau en ressorte propre . Laisser refroidir dans la casserole, puis retirez délicatement le gâteau du moule sur une grille et laisser refroidir complètement . ( * Mon gâteau a pris près de 55 minutes pour cuire . Tente de papier d’aluminium pendant les 10 dernières minutes ou plus de temps de cuisson pour empêcher le brunissement plus . )

      * Fondre très attentivement le chocolat :

      Définir un bol résistant à la chaleur sur une casserole d’ eau frémissante , en s’assurant que le bol ne touche pas l’eau . Incorporer le chocolat dans le bol jusqu’à ce qu’il fonde . Avec une cuillère , arroser le chocolat sur ​​le gâteau et créer de belles rayures sur le dessus. * ( J’ai sauté cette étape et saupoudré de sucre en poudre à la place ) .

      Laissez le chocolat sèche un peu et servir le gâteau en tranches épaisses , avec le sirop de poire réduite.

      Pour un cocktail pétillant Spiced Pear , utiliser le sirop de poire réduite à mélanger avec le vin mousseux de votre choix . Ajouter les poires en tranches sur le verre pour la décoration. Cheers!

  3. Lynn@Happier Than A Pig In Mud
    January 29, 2014 at 5:51 am

    Well now, aren’t you fancy! Your cake turned out beautiful Mary and I’d love to try the Nectar of the Gods:@) Thanks for the tip on the sparkling wine too, I’ll revisit this the next time I go to get a bottle!

  4. Rebecca
    January 29, 2014 at 6:31 am

    I just told my mom I wanted to make cardamom cookies. I think maybe this cake instead!!

  5. Cheryl
    January 29, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Oh Mary, this looks and sounds so wonderful! Only problem is…do we use they syrup for or cake or our cocktail? :)

  6. Peggy Thal
    January 29, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Such a gorgeous dessert. It is a real show stopper. I am going to make this one for sure. Thanks for sharing!!

  7. January 29, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Mary, When I saw the cover of this book I was hoping one of you would make this recipe and tell us about it! Yum yum!! I admire your patience in trying again after the hot mess. Looks like it was a typo–they printed cups but meant sticks. Ooh, I would love a slice with a glass of the nectar on the side! Linda

  8. January 29, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Aww too bad Mary on the hot mess first attempt, but WOW, the second try is a spectacular beauty. Thanks for all your helpful tips and suggestions. xo

  9. paula
    January 29, 2014 at 9:29 am

    When I first saw the book cover, I too thought is that a pear in a cake!?! WOW amazing that you made that, and I bet it taste wonderful.
    ENJOY !!

  10. January 29, 2014 at 9:38 am

    oh what a thing of beauty! i didn’t even bookmark this recipe since i made so many pear treats in the fall, but rest assured, i am on my way out for pears the minute i drop my box off to you this morn at the post office! its just gorgeous… and you didn’t even add the white chocolate! i am so excited to make this now!

    i can just taste the sauce, and you turning it into a bubbly cocktail is brilliant. i made a very similar recipe spiced wine over the holidays from the winter cocktail book, omg, it was soooooooooo good warm, its great to see your addition of champagne.

    your photos are swoon worthy, so much so that i can actually taste and smell the goodness, in other words you did your potent magic and have me ready to dash keys in hand to make my own house relish is all the same goodness. and of course you are using my old time fav, country french to make it feel even more comfy…

    heavy sigh to this, i will be enjoying bite for bite tonight!

  11. January 29, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Mary, your pear cake is stunningly beautiful! We have a pear tree in our yard, and thanks to you, I now have 2 new things to do with them!

  12. January 29, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    What an interesting presentation. This is fabulous! I’m going to make this for my friend’s birthday. She loves pears!

  13. January 29, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    I would be perfectly content with the poached pears but the cake is lovely.

  14. January 29, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Mary, when I saw the first photo, I clapped my hands. I was so hoping a NB would make this cake. Yours is stunning, the kind of dessert that deserves to be center stage. It’s been a long while since I’ve seen something this gorgeous and enticing. The UK to US conversions have thrown me, too. Your cocktail looks heavenly, too!

  15. January 29, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    What a conversation piece your dessert would be if I served my guests this interesting cardamom pear cake! It is so pretty and sounds good. I haven’t used cardamom before. I will be pinning this for a future time. Also enjoyed learning about Cava too.

    How is your weather, Mary? So cold here and icy! We are homebound because all our roads are icy. It hasn’t gotten over 24 today so I am afraid everything will be slow tomorrow too. So many horror stories of people stuck on the interstate trying to get home yesterday in Birmingham and Atlanta. Some of the children had to spend the night at their schools because conditions were so bad.

  16. January 29, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    This cake is nothing short of a showstopper!…Like the grand finale of a fireworks show…I definitely need to take the time to make your exquisite creations!…But, knowing me, I will end up with a “hot mess”!!

  17. Stef
    January 29, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    What a Gorgeous cake! Stunning. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices and those pears look amazing. Thank you!

  18. January 30, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Wow, simply stunning cake Mary, I am so impressed with your determination and made it twice! Thank you for all the research and tips which make this cake sound doable for the less adventurous! I don’t think I’ve ever really had cardamon and have read that it is divine over and over, so I must try it. The cocktail sounds insanely good. What a wonderful world you have opened up with this book~

  19. January 30, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    That cake is a work of art! Cardamom is one of my very favorite flavors. I will be trying this, maybe for the next ladies luncheon.
    Thanks for sharing, Mary.

  20. January 30, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    So incredibly beautiful! Thanks for persevering and sharing your great results!

  21. January 31, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Love it! What a delicious sounding cake!
    I love using cardamon…Have a recipe for an Habanero-Mango ice cream that calls for it…At first I thought the hotness of the Habanero masked the subtle taste of the cardamon, but after a couple of tastes, the cardamon comes through nicely…

  22. February 1, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Thank you for this! I’m printing the recipe to make it and share with friends! It looks gorgeous and delicious. :-)
    Linda at Beautiful Ideas

  23. February 2, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    This is by far the most impressive cake I’ve seen in weeks. I love how pretty it is and the combination of exotic flavors that come together to make this lovely cake. Wow! Your photos turned out great. It would definitely impress my friends if I found the ingredients to put this together.

  24. February 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Visiting from Foodie Friday. This looks AMAZING! I cannot wait to try it out! Your photography of the process and finished cake is also fantastic.
    Amber @

  25. February 5, 2014 at 10:39 am

    *swoon* So beautiful!…

  26. February 5, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I just used cardamom for the first time in Baklava I made for our Super Bowl party!! Can not wait to try this cake…this weekend for sure!! Your photos are beautiful and your helpful tips are very much appreciated! Thank you

  27. February 5, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    That is a wonderful cake. I have never seen a whole pear baked this way. How intriguing.

  28. February 11, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    This is nothing short of spectacular!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT a presentation!!! I have never used cardamom, I will have to look for it! And the cocktail sounds fabulous, perfect for valentines too! I don’t know how I missed this but saw your feature at WOW so ran right over. Hope you are nOT getting this storm. It will hit us tomorrow night and all day Thurs. I am SO over Winter.

  29. Ann at the Lake
    February 18, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Ah cardomum… This cake looks wonderful. (Next time you make cinnamon rolls, add a teaspoon of cardamum to the dough. You will never make them any other way.)

  30. Wendi Spraker
    March 17, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I made this cake for my bookclub meeting last night – everyone oooo’d and ahhhh’d and gobbled it up! We had the nectar of the Gods with champagne before though – so maybe that is why! lol. anyway, thanks for the AWESOME recipe and the tips – I will be making this again! I will say though – mine fell in the middle while it was cooling – it was still delish though! :)

    • March 17, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Wendi, So glad it was a hit! It’s worth making again just for the pear poaching-cocktail mixing liquid :)

  31. October 7, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    This is one of the most stunning cakes I’ve ever seen!

  32. Cheryl
    January 28, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Just saw this picture from last year and clicked on it. I love pears and this cake is beautiful. Can’t wait to make it.

  33. Lisa
    February 7, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Getting ready to make this cake, but only have ground cardamom and anise seeds. How much do I use? Please help! :)

    • Lisa
      February 9, 2015 at 10:17 am

      Figured out the amounts and made the cake! It was so wonderfully delicious! Everyone was surprised and loved it, even the leftover syrup. My husband wants me to try another one of your recipes….that says a lot :) Thanks so much for all you do!

  34. April 11, 2016 at 5:04 pm


    • April 11, 2016 at 5:27 pm

      Hi Lana, I’m not sure what might have happened on your end with your printer. When you follow the printable link to the recipe, you’re directed to Google Sites. On the upper right hand corner of the recipe, you will see four buttons. When you hover over the third button (looks like a wheel or a flower), it says “more actions”. Hit the drop down arrow and one of the options is “print page”. I just tried it and it printed out the two page recipe.

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