This recipe is based on a recipe I recently saw in The Jewish Weekly in a special food feature about Rosh Hashanah (which starts tonight) the Jewish New Year–also known as the first of the High Holidays. As someone who celebrates the Jewish holidays, I welcome new foods to make during the celebration. This cake captivated me both with its beauty and simplicity. The original recipe is made with apples (a common fruit used during Rosh Hashanah) but as I often do, I changed a few things. In my version, I use pears: sweet, ripe, juicy pears. I also added some almond flour to complement the nutty, rich flavor of the olive oil. This cake is killer. Moist, flavorful and complementary to any holiday meal–but also delicious otherwise.
Apples are often used during High Holiday baking because they are sweet–they represent wishes for a sweet new year ahead. But pears are sweet too, so my recipe works just as well for the High Holidays, if you ask me.
Olive oil is a secret cake ingredient that I love to use. I frequently make chocolate olive oil cake, which is one of my favorite go-to recipes for cupcakes. Some will argue using olive oil in baking is “healthier,” making the baked good slightly better for you by supplying healthy fat and antioxidants. But olive oil also adds depth of flavor.
Religion aside, this olive oil pear cake is a winner. Falling on the not-too-sweet side, I enjoyed this cake straight up after a great meal. My husband opted for it with a generous dollop of ice cream for breakfast, because that’s the way he rolls.
Pear Olive Oil Cake
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Dash of salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/4 cup, plus 2 teaspoons, brown sugar, divided
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 3 red pears (or other), peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper and lightly oil. Set aside.
- Step 2 In a small bowl mix together the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well to incorporate and set aside.
- Step 3 In the bowl of a kitchen mixer, such as a KitchenAid, fitted with a paddle attachment, add the oil, sugar and vanilla, mix well for about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the milk.
- Step 4 With the mixer on low, add the flour-mixture and blend.
- Step 5 Pour the batter in to the prepared cake pan. Tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles in the batter. Set aside.
- Step 6 Arrange the pear slices on top pressing the pears slightly into the batter. The pears can be designed in any way you desire. I like to divide the pie into quadrants and to layer slices out from the center in each of the four sections, as shown in the photos above. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar and cinnamon.
- Step 7 Place in the oven and bake until firm to the touch, about 35-40 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow to sit in the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing.
- Step 8 Serve straight up, with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream depending on what you prefer.