There is a pear tree in the backyard of my parents house and when we ended up with a bagful of pears which were already somewhat ripe, I knew I had to make a pear cake. Over the summer I had seen on Chow a Greek stand in New York that apparently made a wonderful pear olive oil cake and I wanted one too. I tried several recipes and in the end I was happy with a slightly modified version of a recipe on this Spanish Olive Oil website.
Now, obviously this cake is not only great with coffee and for kids, it does have health benefits. Of course the fat is coming from the olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fats (good fats) that help lower the bad cholesterol in the blood. But with the addition of pears (about 3 cups) you get fiber, but not just any fiber. Pears are actually a good source of both types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble helps your GI tract work smoothly, keeps you “regular” and the soluble fiber also lowers bad cholesterol and may be associated with lower blood pressure. I also used whole wheat flour in this version adding some more fiber. So, really, you have a heart healthy cake, that doesn’t taste heart healthy.
Pear Olive Oil Cake
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup regular flour
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3 cups cored and peeled and cubed pears
1. Preheat oven at 325 F (160 C).
2. Grease and lightly dust a 22 cm spring-form cake tin with flour.
3. Combine olive oil, sugar and eggs in a bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until thick and pale.
4. Sift flour and spices into a large bowl, pour in wet ingredients and mix well to combine.
5. Stir in cubes of pear.
6. Pour mixture into prepared cake tin, taking care to evenly distribute the fruit.
7. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out a little moist but clean.
8. Let cake cool and then dust with powdered sugar.
Tried this cake yesterday, used 2 small fresh eggs, brown natural sugar, added walnuts & a spoon of manuka blend honey. For the oil I used 1/2 a cup of olive oil (not extra vergine) and 1/2 a cup of extra vergine oil (strong fresh one from nov ’12). In stead of the ground all spice (impossible to find in our village) I crushed some Juniper berries :-). We loved it and it is so easy to make and not too sweet! Thank you Elena for your lovely recipe.
Thank you Jose! Yes ground spice can be difficult to find sometimes even in Greece.
Sounds yummy! I’m intrigued by the olive oil! How do you know what kind to use? I bought an orange infused oil, would that work? Also how much can you cut back on the sugar without affecting the results?
This looks great. I am going to try this with some walnuts added in. I need to substitute splenda instead of sugar. Will that work in baking?
Thanks Dennis. I have not tried with Splenda but it should work OK. I believe they have a conversion chart. Or you can just use less sugar.