Pear Cake With Vanilla Bean Butter Glaze


This pear cake with vanilla bean butter sauce is going to improve the state of your soul. Why? Because with cinnamon-coated pears baking in a cake will melt all your troubles away in an instant, and let you know that everything will be okay.

The moist cake is generously studded with ripe pears, and drizzled with a sweet glaze of vanilla and butter. I used Bartlett pears, but surely any good variety of pear will do. Add a splash of dark rum to the glaze? Why not! I did this on a whim while making my glaze, and gave myself a mental high five.

You can treat this cake like dessert, but if you decide to enjoy a piece with a hot mug of coffee and call it breakfast, no one’s stopping you. You are an adult who makes choices. Go for it.

Pear Cake With Vanilla Bean Butter Glaze

Print this recipe
Prep time: 15 minutes
Yield: one cake (about 10-12 servings)


For the pears

  • 6 pears
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the cake

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs

For the sauce

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • splash of dark rum (optional)


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube or bundt pan. Peel, core and chop pears into 1-inch chunks. Toss with cinnamon and 5 tablespoons sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, apple juice, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix wet ingredients into dry ones; scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of pears (and their juices) over it. Pour the remaining batter over the pears and arrange the pears apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Make sure your toothpick goes not just all the way down to the bottom, but does a shallow dip below the top layer of pears to make sure it comes out batter-free.

Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter.

While the cake cools, make the sauce. Split vanilla bean length-wise with a paring knife. Scrape out all the seeds. In a small saucepan combine vanilla seeds, butter, brown sugar, and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in splash of rum (if using).

Pour about 1/4 of the glaze into empty cake pan. Carefully reinsert cake back into pan. With a fork or skewer, poke holes into the cake. Drizzle the remaining glaze over the cake. Let sit for about 30 minutes, allowing glaze to absorb. Turn cake out onto serving plate.

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