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

Pear Cake with Crumb Topping

This pear cake is an elegant but easy dessert. Red wine poached pears are nestled in a light cinnamon cake with crumb topping.
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Course: Cakes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to use pears in dessert, pear desserts, red wine poached pears, what dessert to make with pears
Prep Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 619kcal
Author: Sam Adler
Cost: $8


For the poached pears

  • 750 mL bottle semi sweet red wine 1 bottle
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cinnamon sticks sub 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3-4 Anjou Pears small

For the cake

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs large
  • 3/4 cup sour cream or dairy free sour cream
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole rice, or soy milk

For the crumb topping

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ -½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup butter cold, diced small


Prepare the pears:

  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350° F and prepare the cake batter. 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until evenly combined.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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. 


Nutrition Facts
Pear Cake with Crumb Topping
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 619 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 14g88%
Cholesterol 124mg41%
Sodium 306mg13%
Potassium 352mg10%
Carbohydrates 82g27%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 51g57%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 516IU10%
Vitamin C 15mg18%
Calcium 122mg12%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.