When American Apple Pie becomes French Pear Cake

Posted on 13 May 2020

Last week our powerhouse duo that fuel our online presence mentioned that the 13th of May is one of two days when the Americans honour their National favourite dessert – Apple Pie.  Imagine, two days dedicated to the celebration of one dish. These guys must really love Apple Pie. I mean, if you search the www you’ll find countless recipes for Apple Pie and so many movies with reference or scenes about Apple Pie. There’s even an anecdote about Teddy Roosevelt being served Apple Pie while travelling in Africa.

I must say that i really like a good piece of warm apple pie with a serving of vanilla ice cream or fresh cream, but my family can’t stand the texture of cooked apples, so it’s rare that I bake it.

When on Monday Sofia suggested that we do a blogpost on Apple Pie, I jumped at the idea of baking one. But I forgot to buy apples and sitting in our very large fruit bowl were a whole lot of pears.

A friend had recently shared a French Pear cake recipe on my Lockdown – “Sister’s Survival” Whatsapp Group and this sparked a whole lot of recipe sharing, so I decided to bake a French Pear Cake instead and what a success that was!

It was more pears than cake and I added some flaked coconut to the very few almonds that I had available to give more crunch to the crackly, sugar dusted topping that gave this cake an added bit of deliciousness. We enjoyed it slightly warm with a dollop of Creme Fraiche.

This was literally a case of making lemonade when life throws you lemons.


For the Batter
1/2 Unsalted Butter at room temperature
2 Large Free Range eggs at room temperature
1 1/3 cups flower
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
a touch of Vanilla
1/2 sour cream or thick Greek yoghurt – I used yoghurt

For the Filling
3 Pears – ripe but still firm. Peeled or unpeeled

For the Topping

1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup flaked almonds optional

For serving:

Crème Fraîche or whipped cream or ice cream


Preheat oven to 180C.  Prepare a 20-22cm spring-form tin by lining it with baking paper.
Prepare the pears: You can peel the pears if you like, or leave the peel on. Cut them, core them and slice them into 1cm thick slices. Fan the pear slices slightly arranging them in a ring starting from the outside of the pan and making 2 smaller rings in the centre. The pear slices should just touch eachother in the centre and fan out slightly towards the outside. Fill until you reach the centre of the pan leaving a small space in the very centre empty. You may not need all the pear slices. Set the pan aside.
In a large bowl beat together the butter and the 1 cup of sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla.
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl then Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternating with the yoghurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.
Spoon the batter in to the centre of the prepared pan. Using a knife, gently spread the batter in to a thin layer out to the outside edges of the pan. Scatter the flaked almonds (and coconut flakes if you’re using them) over the the batter and sprinkle  evenly with the 1/4 cup white sugar.
Bake in preheated oven until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.
Let the cake cool 5-10 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the outside and remove the outer ring. Allow to cool a bit more, then slice and enjoy warm with a dollop of Crème Fraîche.

 My family loved this cake and I sure ill be making it again very soon! 😉