Baked Sweets and Treats

Pear Spice Cake with Toasted Walnuts


Organic Thanksgiving holiday fruit cake with pear, walnuts and cornmeal.

Ready, set, go! We have launched into Thanksgiving mode. Good bye Halloween, hello Turkey and trimmings. Over here we have all the Fall spices lined up and ready for action. Today I bring you pear cake. OMG. I came up with this cake to pay tribute to all of the beautiful pears I have been seeing at the markets. From green & ruby red d’Anjou pears, to Bartlett or Comice…..whatever pear you choose happiness is guaranteed.

Organic pears for holiday Thanksgiving cake recipe.

Apples usually take center stage this time of year. We love them for applesauce, cider, pies, and eaten whole as a snack. Now it is time to give pears the love they deserve. For this cake I made a pear sauce. A unique cousin to the apple version. At first I was just going to cut the pears into chunks and add them to the batter & then I switched gears.

Thanksgiving Pear fruit cinnamon, ginger cake for the home chef.

I wanted each and every bite to be infused with pear, spices and flavor. The pear sauce was a great idea. It helped to make this cake very moist.

Homemade pear cake recipe for the home chef.

Instead of using all flour I used half medium grind cornmeal. It added both to the texture & flavor of this cake. Our cake could have baked a bit longer, but the center had a pudding like texture that was creamy & indulgent.

Homemade pear cake with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

This cake is perfect for dessert, breakfast, brunch or snacking. Great for the lunchbox too!

Pear cake with homemade whipped cream, chocolate sauce and walnuts.

Serve some up at your Thanksgiving feast or enjoy on your own with a steamy cup of coffee. My Pear Spice Cake is guilt free. Loaded with whole grains, fruit and nuts. You can also get a bit sassy & top a slice with chocolate sauce & whipped cream. You can also go a bit lighter with slightly sweetened Thick Greek Yogurt.

Healthy cake for Thanksgiving and Fall holiday parties.

What are your favorite cakes to serve for Thanksgiving? How do you like to use pears in baking?


Pear Spice Cake with Walnuts

Makes about 10-12  servings


  • I highly suggest you toast your nuts before you use them. Doing this adds so much to the flavor & texture of baked treats.
  • This cake will be good stored at room temperature for a day or two. After that wrap it up and put in the fridge. You can freeze some too.


  • 3 Pears cleaned and roughly chopped, remove core & keep skin on – use your favorite variety or mix a few (you will use one cup of this sauce)
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons White Whole Wheat flour  -or- Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 cup medium grind Cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup chopped, toasted Walnuts
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon Stevia Powder or to taste
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 cup Milk (I like fat free)
  • 1 cup Pear Sauce (from above)
  • 2 tablespoons melted Unsalted Butter
  • chopped crystal or Candied Ginger for topping
  • Optional: whipped cream & chocolate sauce


Toasted Nuts: Preheat oven to 350˚F with the rack in the center. Chop nuts to the size you want them & arrange on a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, tossing once or twice to toast evenly. Toast until slightly browned and fragrant.

Pear Sauce: Wash and roughly cube pears. I left the skin on for added nutrients. Place pears in a medium sauce pan with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat & partially cover with a lid. Reduce to a simmer for about 25-30 minutes. Let cool a bit and purée in a food processor or blender.

Pear Cake: Preheat oven to 400˚F with the rack in the center. Grease or line a 8″ round cake pan with parchment paper. Sift all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl. With a spatula, stir to combine the wet and dry ingredients in one bowl. Coat 1/2 cup walnuts with 2 tablespoons of flour. Add to the batter and stir gently to combine. Put the batter in the cake pan and top with additional walnuts and candied ginger pieces. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Carefully flip out of pan, remove parchment and flip again so nuts are on the top. Serve with whipped cream, thick greek yogurt and/or chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Sauce

Take a few tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder & make a sauce with a little boiling hot water. Stir in some vanilla stevia drops or your favorite natural sweetener to taste.



  • Any other nut would be great in this recipe: almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia, pecans, etc.
  • Instead of pear, you could use apples or a combo of both.
  • Add some dried fruit to the batter and to top this cake. Raisins, cranberries, blueberries, diced apricots would be a fun twist.
  • Add some chocolate shavings to the top of a cooled cake.

Pear Cake Recipe Links

~ Marla Meridith

Join the Conversation

65 thoughts on “Pear Spice Cake with Toasted Walnuts

  1. Beautiful photos. I love pears. I don’t bake with them too often either. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I have baked with them. But baked, with the chocolate sauce and ice cream, this looks divine!

    1. Grace: I gotta add ice cream as a choice top heap alongside a slice of this cake. My, my that would be good.

      Lizzy: You could have this cake for lunch & not feel a bit of guilt. Just try to stick to one slice, thats the tricky part!

      Heather & UrMomCooks: Always a great pleasure to link to other hard working bloggers and excellent recipes!

  2. Your cake is stunning, Marla! It would really be a gorgeous addition to Thanksgiving dessert, but I really don’t think I can wait until Thanksgiving to make it. 🙂 With a nice dollop of Greek yogurt and a cup if tea it would also be an amazing breakfast!

  3. Hi Marla, I noticed that you attached a link to my Caramel pear upside down cake. Just wanted to say “Thanks” for choosing mine to link to. I love your site and your photos are great. I also love your version of pear cake and can’t wait to try it. Fiona

    1. Cherine: Those toasted walnuts really do make this cake! I toasted some up this morning for breakfast and the nuts were enhanced even more.

      Fiona: Your Caramel Pear Upside Down Cake looks amazing! Well worth the link, I am sure my readers will love it!

      Claudia: If you guys are not fans of pears, I say just go with the apples. The results will be the same I am sure!

  4. Marla…with all those wonderful ingredients…how could one not take the extra time and try getting this done…well worth it for sure. Although we’re not pear fans at my place…I can see how having this cake could not make the liking of pears grow on us ;o)

    Beautiful baking and stunning photography Marla!

    Flavourful wishes,

  5. Heavenly! What a beautiful cake and I love the photo’s Marla. You won’t feel guilty eating this cake either with all the whole grains. Love it! Pears are a household favorite. My girls call them “parrots” they can’t seem to get that they are actually called “pears”. I enjoy hearing them say “parrots” though. Makes me laugh every time. I’ll have to let them know we are going to have to try Parrot Cake soon. 🙂 Have a great weekend Marla!

    1. Heather: “Parrots” is amazing! You will always remember that. Yes, I do believe some “parrot” cake is in order. You will also be happy ’cause there are no hideous sugar crashes involved!

      Elana: Thanks for stopping by. You and I must connect. I spent quite some time on your blog today & I love it. Loads of great recipes that I must try. You have a very refined sensibility towards flavors, ingredients and nutrition. I also like the way you encourage your readers to experiment with what works best for them. Inviting intuitive cooking makes time in the kitchen much less intimidating.

  6. Nice one, Marla, and I love the thought process that went into this gorgeous cake. Sometimes I feel all appled and pumpkined out this time of year, and pears are such a nice change of pace, whether fresh or baked in cake form as you’ve done here. Pearsauce (note to self: make some!) is such a great idea here for a moist cake, and the spices and walnuts are just a perfect flavor match. Love it!

  7. I never have served cake for Thanksgiving, but this one I might try! Thanks for the recipe. Only dessert I’ve ever made for Thanksgiving is Pumpkin pie. We’re kind of boring like that 🙂

    1. Amy: Pumpkin Pie is NEVER boring! But I have to tell you, this pear cake tastes just like a coffee cake. Not only would it be yummy to serve guests, but it is perfect for breakfast the morning after holiday festivities!

  8. I’ve never used pears in baking before- I usually just eat them because I love eating pears so much! haha……actually, that’s the same for most fruits =) This cake sounds delicious though- and your pears look lovely!! I love the idea of using pear sauce in the cake. I can just imagine how good this tastes!

    1. Von: I have been using so much fruit in sauces & baking that I have been hardly munching on ’em as is! With all of my recipes and my kids grabbing all the fresh produce the minute it comes in the door I can’t keep up! Yes, I think you need to buy enough pears to eat & bake with.

    1. Cathy B: I am so happy you found me over at Tasty Kitchen. That was my first recipe submission over there. I do hope you get to try my pear coffee cake, it is addictive. I must make another one over here very soon!

  9. Hey Marla, this sounds absolutely delicious! I love that it uses hardly any fat (I keep scanning to see if I’ve missed something!) and can be sweetened with just stevia. I’ll have to give it a shot 🙂 thank you!

  10. I want to make this cake for my grandmother who was just diagnosed as is there something i could substitute for the cornmeal that has a lower glycemic index?

  11. Great recipe! Made a double batch, 2 cakes, and they are delicious. Used overripe pears pureed in blender – did not need to cook them, and added a bit of sugar instead of stevia. Used mix of black walnuts and pecans, which tastes great, but did somewhat overwhelm the pear flavor. Will keep experimenting with this recipe. Love the use of whole grains! Thanks for sharing.