Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Pear Poppy Seed Cake With Caramel Sauce

Not only is this cake a cinch to make, not only does it serve an army, the best part of this fabulous cake are the pears. Beautiful pears wrapped in a soft poppy seed-studded cake that stay crisp and juicy even after baking. 

I found this recipe in a German cooking magazine years ago. It's been bookmarked and passed over forever. So happy now that I took the time to tweak it and test it out. It got rave reviews. 

I used Anjou pears but you can use any type you like. Just make sure they are firm and not too ripe or mushy.

To finish the cake,  homemade caramel sauce is drizzled over the top. You can use store bought if you are short on time. The cake has plenty of moisture and flavor without it. However, the caramel sauce does add another layer of fall inspired flavor. 

This is yet another great Thanksgiving dessert idea. That cake can be made up to a day ahead, then just before cutting and serving, drizzle the caramel sauce over the top. The caramel sauce can be made weeks ahead. It keeps forever in the refrigerator. I'm all about make-ahead ideas when it comes to preparing Thanksgiving dinner. 

Pear Poppy Seed Cake With Caramel Sauce
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 20 pieces


  • 2+1/2 lbs pears
  • 2 tablespoons plus 5 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 sticks butter (1+1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup caramel sauce (recipe follows)


  • Peel the pears, halve them and cut out the cores. Cut each half vertically into slices.
  • Transfer the slices to a bowl and coat them with the lemon juice and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease a 12 X 15 baking sheet.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. 
  • Beat butter and sugar together. Add the vanilla, lemon zest and beat until creamy.
  • Beat in the poppy seeds.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, slowly, making sure each one is incorporated before adding the next.
  • Whisk together the remaining lemon juice with the milk.
  • Starting with the dry ingredients, add in thirds to the butter mixture alternating with the milk.
  • Spread the cake batter out on the prepared pan. Gently push the pear slices into the top of the batter, spreading them evenly over the top of the cake. Make a pattern , if you like.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. 
  • Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top. Slice and serve. 

Caramel Sauce recipe:


  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. 
  • Whisk constantly until everything has melted together and the sauce has thickened. 
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let cool completely before transferring to a jar.
  • Keep refrigerated.

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