Pear Cake with Crumb Topping

A slice of a cake that has a pear baked inside on a white plate.

This pear cake is an elegant but easy dessert. Red wine poached pears are nestled in a light cinnamon cake with crumb topping.



For the Poached Pears:

1 750mL bottle semi sweet red wine

¾ cup orange juice

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cinnamon sticks (sub 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)

½ cup granulated sugar 

3-4 Small Anjou Pears


For the Cake:


1 ½ cups all purpose flour 

¾ cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

1 1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup fake sour cream

1/3 cup veg oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup rice milk 


For the Crumb Topping:


1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/8 cup granulated sugar

¼ -½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup butter, cold, diced small



  1. In a medium pot with tall sides over medium heat, combine wine, orange juice, water, vanilla, cinnamon sticks, and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and bring to a boil. 

  2. Start peeling the pears only when the poaching liquid is boiling. Peel the pears and slice off a little bit of the bottom so that they will stand up straight in the loaf pan. 

  3. Place the pears inside the pot (either standing or on their side) and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, then rotate the pears and cook 10 minutes more. Place in fridge to cool down fast. You can leave the pears in the poaching liquid for up to 2 days. 

  4. Preheat the oven to 350° F and prepare the cake batter. 

  5. In a medium sized bowl combine the 1 ½ cup flour, ¾ cup sugar, 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon salt. Whisk to combine.

  6. In another bowl combine the 2 eggs, ¾ cup sour cream, ⅓ cup oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and ½ cup milk. Whisk to combine.

  7. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until evenly combined.

  8. Spray or line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Remove the cooled pears from the poaching liquid and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the pears in a row in the middle of the loaf pan standing straight up.

  9. Pour the batter in from the sides alternating between the two. The pears might try to slip around but just move them back into the middle. Shake or tap the loaf pan gently to make sure the batter is evenly dispersed.

  10. Prepare the crumb topping. In a small bowl combine ½ cup flour, ¼ cup brown sugar, ⅛ cup granulated sugar,½ teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ cup chopped butter. Pinch the mixture with your fingers to create coarse crumbs kind of like the texture of wet sand. It’s ok if there are larger pieces. Sprinkle over the cake and bake for 30-35 minutes. The cake is done when the edges start to pull off from the sides and the top is golden brown.


You can make this cake dairy free by using butter and milk substitutes. You can discard the poaching liquid or reduce it into a syrup by bringing it to a boil then reducing it to a simmer until it reduces by half, about 15 minutes. 

Keywords: pear desserts, what dessert to make with pears, how to use pears in dessert, red wine poached pears