Pear Cake - Gateau Fondant Aux Poires


This elegant pear cake or the gateau fondant aux poires is made with poached pears prepared with cinnamon and anise baked in a cake with an abundance of lemon zest. And not only is it a delicious cake but also beautiful to look at. This recipe also works well with poached apples and apricots, the sourness from the fruits transforms the cake into totally different flavors. In short, I just love this pear cake recipe.

Wayne Thiebaud, Cakes - favorite painting at the National Gallery, Washington DC
Ingredients for poached pears and cake:

-Poached Pears

(Since making poached pears do not have to be totally precise because it really depends on the ripeness and the natural sweetness of the fruit, I used cup measurements for this recipe.)

  • 3-4 pears/apples optional
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups sugar
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 lemon

-The Cake

  • 250 grams of butter (soften)
  • 200 grams of sugar
  • 4 eggs (room temperature)
  • 250 grams flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • a pinch of salt
  • zest of one mid-size lemon

Steps for the Pear Cake:

  1. Prepare the poached pears:
    • First, peel the pears and cut the pears into halves and remove the cores.
    • Then, place the pears into the poaching syrup (sugar + spices + lemon sliced) which should be brought to a boil in a deep pot.
    • Make sure the pears are completely covered in the syrup. Stir occasionally and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the pears are soft, and test by using a toothpick.
    • Once done, leave the pears to cool in the syrup to room temperature. Then slice the half pears into quarters, and set aside. (Don't forget that the poaching syrup can be used to poach other fruits or can be added to drinks, very flavorful!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, and grease 24cm or ( 1/2 inch) spring cake tin.
  2. In a bowl sift the flour and the baking powder and set aside.
  3. With a mixer beat the butter and sugar till fluffy and white.
  4. Slowly add in the eggs one by one to keep the mixture fluffy. And then add in the vanilla and the lemon zest.
  5. Gently fold in the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and do not over-mix.
  6. Pour half of the cake mixture into the tin and lay the sliced pears evenly spaced in a circle on top of the cake mixture and then pour the rest of the cake mixture over it. Repeat placing the sliced pear on top of the cake mixture and lightly press it down so the pears are half covered in the cake mixture.
  7. Bake for 60 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake.
  8. Let the cake rest in the tin for about 10-15 minutes before removing it. Serve the cake when it is completely cooled or if you have time cool it thoroughly in the fridge before serving.
Pear Cake – Gateau Fondant Aux Poires
The recipe works well with apples also.
Reminds me of the wonderful bakery in Paris - Pain Pain, nice welcoming staffs!
Reminds me of the wonderful bakery in Paris - Pain Pain, nice welcoming staff!
Oh là là