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Pear Walnut Cake, A Family Tradition

Pear Almond Cake

There are very few things that a cake won’t cure. From gray days and heavy rain to sickness and nostalgia. This winter has been brutal for a lot of folks. Here we have been spared from the general malaise of being stuck in a never ending cycle of snow days, blizzards and freezing temperatures. We did have a very minor taste of it last week with a little very slushy watery snow blanketing our street one evening. First time Tiggy the new pup experienced the snow. She had a blast, slid down a small hill a couple of time and like me, enjoyed the quietness that comes right after it falls.


Pear Almond Cake

In anticipation of a snow day and potential loss of electricity (didn’t happen), I went ahead and cooked a bunch of the vegetables and proteins I had in the fridge and freezers as well as the fruits laying about on the countertop. The results were a couple of stews and soups, a batch of pear financiers and this yogurt based pear cake.


Pear Almond Cake

This cake is my go-to, fullproof, can’t-mess-it-up-even-if-you-tried cake. We learn to make this cake almost as soon as we can stand and stir in my family. All my aunts have equipped with and taught this recipes to their sons, my grandmother passed it on to my mom who passed it on to me and my brothers. It’s a never ending cycle of goodness as we pass it on to the next generation of kids, siblings or friends.


Pear Almond Cake

And now I am passing on to you. It can be as understated as plain with a good cup of tea or studding with fruits, chocolate, nuts, flavored with vanilla, walnuts, lemon and anything in between. The result is a tender and crumbly cake that never ceases to comfort and make people smile.

Pear Walnut Cake.

Serves 8


2 large eggs1/2 cup granulated sugar3/4 cup olive oil (don’t skimp on the quality)1 cup plain yogurt (low or full fat)zest and juice of a lemon2 cups flour (all purpose or Jeanne’s flour blend which we use all the time)

2 teaspoons baking powderpinch of salt

2 large pears, peeled and sliced 

1/3 cup walnuts, choppedDirections:
Preheat the oven to 350F and grease and flour a 9-inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 2 minutes. Add the olive oil, yogurt, lemon juice and zest and whisk again so that everything is well mixed. Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix until the batter is smooth. (You can do this in a stand mixer if desired)
Pour the mixture in the prepared baking pan. Place the pear slices on top and sprinkle with the walnuts.  Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out free of crumbs. Let cool completely before slicing. 

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ellen b March 4, 2015 um 2:19 am

I'm going to bookmark this recipe for when my pear tree produces it's pears this year…
It looks fabulous, you got me at foolproof!

Kelsey M March 4, 2015 um 3:26 am

Wow I love the olive oil and yogurt that is added to this cake! And I am in complete agreement- there are few things that cake can't fix…pinning it for later!


Alanna March 4, 2015 um 7:43 am

Such stunning images as always! What a handsome cake.

Vickie March 4, 2015 um 10:59 am

mmm, that looks so good!

Maria_NJ March 4, 2015 um 12:06 pm

I'm wondering if this will work in a cast iron skillet? must try…looks wonderful!

Unknown March 4, 2015 um 12:08 pm

Love this post! So excited to say I bought your book and decided to promote it on my blog because I love it!

Tom March 4, 2015 um 1:05 pm

This cake does really look good. Wife always says though that she can mess up any cake ~ but I'm still going to share this link with her because it sure looks like her type of cake. She loves walnuts and says they help cut down on belly fat. Can't confirm that! She says the last cake she made was really bad and wants a private tutor, but I thought it was fine. Let them eat cake, right?!?

Anonymous March 4, 2015 um 2:29 pm

What a beautiful post and recipe! I love that this combines yogurt and olive oil for extra "healthy" moisture, I look so forward to giving it a try… How special to think it's been passed from generation to generation and now on to your many followers, thank you for sharing!

Barbara Bakes March 4, 2015 um 2:54 pm

What a gorgeous cake. I can see why it's a family tradition.

The Suzzzz March 4, 2015 um 3:16 pm

And now I have an excuse to invite friends over on Sunday afternoon. Can't wait to try it!

Lauren March 4, 2015 um 3:50 pm

Oh my goodness this sounds like a slice of heaven. We are getting slammed with snow this winter and I'm at my wit's end. This cake will make things better tomorrow when we are supposed to get more bloody snow. Thank you!

Rebecca March 4, 2015 um 7:18 pm

This cake looks perfect nothing beats a family recipe I seriously need some cake now.

konstantina March 5, 2015 um 11:43 am

Your cake looks fantastic. I will try it during the weekend only in the gluten free version.
Many thanks

Unknown March 6, 2015 um 11:47 am

I made this cake using sour cream instead of the yogurt, because we had it on hand, and cinnamon sugar instead of the walnuts because we have allergies.

It is delicious.

Thank you so much.


Judi March 6, 2015 um 12:13 pm

Made it, it was delicious! Bringing it to work today. Thanks for sharing- LOVE family recipes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Unknown March 6, 2015 um 5:55 pm

hello, looks good. do you sift the flour before? how much is it in grams? very nice blog.

LisaB March 6, 2015 um 6:22 pm

What an attractive cake! I think I may try it with apple slices.

Unknown March 11, 2015 um 1:08 pm

love this post! Looking forward to trying this cake. It sounds yummy! Made a few of your recipes in the past, they all turned out real good.

shaz March 16, 2015 um 4:04 am

Can you please confirm the amount of oil? I made this cake today and it turned out pretty gummy even after baking it for an extra 25 min.

Unknown March 16, 2015 um 11:03 am

What a stunner! I love using yoghurt in recipes, gives such a gorgeous creamy texture. Yum.

Helene March 16, 2015 um 11:41 pm

Shaz: yes, it's 3/4 cup. My family actually uses a full cup but I find that 3/4 works just the same. The gummy texture may not come from the recipe or its execution but maybe a problem with the oven running lower than what you actually set it for. Adding about 10-15 minutes of cooking time might do the trick or having it calibrated also would work.
Thanks for visiting!

Everybodyswim April 6, 2015 um 3:12 pm

Attractive picture, attractive recipe et delicious cake! It was perfect with my coffee ๐Ÿ™‚

Unknown May 27, 2015 um 10:59 am

I love the idea of a family recipe and jumped right into making this recipe! However, I was totally disappointed with my dense cake and had to throw it out. I used cake flour instead of regular flour and sifted it. Was this the problem? I don't think it could've helped even if I cooked it more than 40 minutes. Any suggestions?

Helene June 8, 2015 um 2:10 pm

Cynthia: I make this cake about once a week and have never have it turned dense. A few things could contribute to changing its consistency: extra large eggs versus large eggs, beating the flour too long which develops too much gluten, oven running higher than the displayed temperature.

Nora February 5, 2016 um 4:53 am

I have a fridge full of pears and can't wait to make this cake! But I've got one, possibly silly, question: is it plain olive oil you use or extra virgin?

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