Saturday, November 22, 2008

Recipe for Pear Pecan Cake with Lemon Glaze (Κέικ με Aχλάδια και Πεκάν)

Pear Pecan CakeWhen I was growing up, cupcakes were a homey lunchbox treat. They weren’t seen in upscale bakeries or on fancy tables.

That all changed in 1996 when New York City’s
Magnolia Bakery started making cupcakes with extra cake batter. After Magnolia’s cupcakes were featured on Sex and the City, it set off a nationwide cupcake craze. Cupcakes’ popularity continues; Barack Obama recently gave Joe Biden a dozen for his birthday.

In 1999, the owners of Magnolia Bakery, Allysa Torey and Jennifer Appel, published
The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook: Old-Fashioned Recipes from New York’s Sweetest Bakery. The slim volume is filled with old-fashioned recipes for cake, cookies, and other desserts, all made with the best possible ingredients.

Last week, I had ripe pears that needed to be used immediately. Magnolia Bakery’s Pear Pecan Cake seemed a wonderful way to use them. I modified the original recipe by adding grated lemon peel to the batter and finishing the cake with a light lemon glaze. The clear lemon flavor balances the pear cake’s richness.

Pear Pecan Cake with Lemon Glaze is moist and delicious. With a cup of hot coffee or tea, it makes a decadent breakfast or mid-morning snack.

Pear Pecan CakePear Pecan Cake with Lemon Glaze (Κέικ με Aχλάδια και Πεκάν)
Adapted from
The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
The batter for this cake is thicker than normal cake batter, so don’t worry if you can't pour it. Apples may be substituted for the pears, and walnuts may be used instead of pecans.

2 – 3 ripe pears (2 cups chopped)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. freshly grated lemon peel
1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped pecans

2 cups powdered sugar
3 – 4 Tbsp. lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Thoroughly oil a Bundt or tube pan. After it’s oiled, if the pan isn’t nonstick, lightly flour it to ensure the cake will properly release from the pan.

Peel and quarter the pears. Remove the core, cut each quarter in half lengthwise, and then cut each slice in crosswise pieces.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir the oil, eggs, and vanilla extract into the dry ingredients. Fold in the chopped pears and pecans. Evenly spoon the batter into the prepared pan, lightly smoothing out the top. Bake for 60 minutes or until a thin skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes, turn the cake upside down onto a wire rack to release it, and finish cooling the cake.

Mix the powdered sugar and 3 Tbsp. lemon juice in a small bowl. If the glaze is too thick, mix in the remaining lemon juice. Spoon the glaze over the very top of the cake so that it drips down the sides and center of the cake.

Slide the cake onto a serving plate. To store, cover the cake with aluminum foil.

Nuria, who writes
Spanish Recipes from Barcelona, Spain and Maryann of Finding La Dolce Vita from the state of New York are two of the world’s nicest people. Both are excellent cooks. At their requests, I’ve completed a know-your-fellow-bloggers meme. For those whose blogs I’ve named below, if you want to complete the meme on your blog, feel free, but please don’t feel obligated, to do so. Here goes:

Who are the last 10 people who commented on your blog?

10) Peter from Souvlaki for the Soul
9) Joan from FOODalogue: Meandering Meals and Travels
8) Maria from Organically Cooked
7) MAG from Hommus & Tabbouli
6) Lydia from The Perfect Pantry
5) Maryann from Finding La Dolce Vita
4) Mariana from History of Greek Food
3) Bijoux from
Keep It Simple
2) Kalyn from Kalyn’s Kitchen
1) Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook

Now answer the following:

1. Has number 10 taken any pictures that moved you? Peter at Souvlaki for the Soul takes some of the best pictures in the food blogosphere. His moody pictures of the Acropolis may be the best I’ve ever seen of this well-photographed site.

2. Have you ever tried something from number 9's blog? I only recently learned about Joan’s blog. As someone who grew up eating Pigs in a Blanket and who loves greens of all kinds, I want to try Joan’s recipe for “This Ain’t Yo Mama’s Pigs in a Blanket.” It looks wonderful.

3. Do you wait excitedly for number 8 to post? Yes. Maria of
Organically Cooked is one of my favorite writers; as a storyteller she is without peer among food bloggers.

4. If you could give one piece of advice to number 7 what would it be? MAG’s Lebanese recipes at
Hommus & Tabbouli are mouth-wateringly good. She doesn’t need any advice; MAG knows what she's doing!

5. Does number 6 reply to comments on her blog? Yes, Lydia does reply to comments left on
The Perfect Pantry. She also gives us a weekly peek into other people’s pantries, a series I find endlessly entertaining.

6. How did number 5's blog change your life? When
Finding La Dolce Vita had its first anniversary, Maryann did a drawing for an anniversary present that I was lucky to win. The package included a pizza chopper that has revolutionized how I cut up pizzas and tarts. Thanks Maryann!

7. How often do you comment on number 4's blog? I comment on most, if not all, posts on Mariana’s blog,
History of Greek Food.

8. What is your favorite post from number 3's blog? Bijoux of Keep It Simple helps keep me current on modern design trends. Her latest post on a
cutting-edge Japanese product is my current favorite.

9. Where is number 2 from? Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen is from Salt Lake City, Utah.

10. Has number 1 blogged something that inspired you? Pretty much everything Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook puts on her blog is inspirational. Her photographs jump off the screen and her descriptions of food are smoothly creative.

11. Do you know any of the 10 bloggers in person? Yes, I know Maria from Organically Cooked.

12. Do any of the 10 bloggers know each other in person? Yes, Kalyn and Lydia met at this year’s BlogHer conference. Maria from Organically Cooked and Mariana from History of Greek Food are friends. If others know each other, it’s news to me.

13. Out of the 10, who updates her blog most frequently? Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen, Queen Mother of Weekend Herb Blogging, updates most frequently.

14. Which of the 10 makes you laugh? Maria’s quirky sense of humor is just one of the reasons I keep going back to Organically Cooked.

15. Which of the 10 makes you cry (good or bad tears)? Cry? Why in the world would I cry when reading about good food and looking at pictures that make my mouth water?
This is my recipe for Bookmarked Recipes, hosted and created by Ruth of Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments.


Mediterranean kiwi said...

This has been a most informative post, Laurie!

I too want to tell people all about the best blogs I've come across (not necessarily food-related), but it would take so much time away from writing, especially since I'm working on a story that i want to present as a Christmas gift to all my readers - even I am in cahoots while writing it!!!

Cakelaw said...

This cake looks simply deliicous, and combines two of my favourite flavours - pear and lemon. Great meme too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your kind words, Laurie!..and the pear cake is heaven!

Linda Warner Constantino said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better, The photography is so delicious looking!
You are truly an adventurous cook and a great writer!

I have to make this cake!


Bellini Valli said...

Wouldn't I love to get my hands on Magnolias cookbook!! I bake so seldom that I need to have tried, true and no fail recipes!!!

Kalyn said...

Beautiful cake, and a fun meme too. How I wish I could travel around and meet everyone of those bloggers, and of course, you too! I sure did have fun with Lydia, and every time I've gotten to meet food bloggers at BlogHer conferences it has been so much fun.

Bijoux said...

Thanks for the mention in your meme Laurie! I will try to get around to posting the meme on my blog one day in the not too distant future. I am in the midst of packing and moving into the new house this next week as well as working on an assignment for night school, so as you can see my plate is full right now :)

Your Bundt cake looks and sounds so tasty! I don't have a Bundt cake pan but I do have 24 muffin/cupcake reservoirs to bake this in.

I've never been to New York but I have heard of Magnolia via people who have been there, and I was also a big Sex and the City fan during its heyday.

Peter G said...

Thank you Laurie for your sweet comments! Now I think we should share a slice of this wonderful cake to indulge!

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Now I understand all the craze over the birthday cup cakes once a month at the office :) The story is interesting. The grated lemon peel sounds like a very Mediterranean twist on the cake. I think lemon peel adds a very delicious flavor to cakes.

Shalimar said...

I used to have friends over here sending me pecans to Greece, so I can pleased my palate baking anything with pecan...

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Thanks so much for including me in your meme. BlogHer was a great place to meet some of my favorite food bloggers, and Kalyn and I had fun at the Boston BlogHer, too. I'm thinking that, in true Magnolia style, this cake would make great cupcakes, too.

History of Greek Food said...

Oh, I so want a piece of this cake!!! And I thank you for mentioning me in your meme. Your comments are always most welcome and appreciated.

Cheryl said...

The cake looks spectacular!!!! I just made lemon glaze the other day for a lemon cake...I love it!
The meme was fun to read also:)

Núria said...

Thanks for the kind mention guapa!!!

That first shot of the cake is awesome!!!!!! I want to try it :D. Doesn't look that hard and now that I started baking nothing is impossible ;D. Do you think I could change pears for bananas?

~~louise~~ said...

I sure could have used this recipe for Bundt Cake Pan Day. It looks delicious! I will just have to add this link. Thanks for sharing Laurie:)

Peter M said...

I dashed by the Magnolia bakery in a New York rush and I regret that after seeing this cake.

Pecans would work well in many Greek desserts too!

Chris said...

love new ways to use pear...this is great! Love the meme

Laurie Constantino said...

Maria, a story for Christmas - I can't wait! Actually, writing about the other blogs was easier and more relaxing than writing about food = it's easier to be inspired by others than to create your own inspiration. At least that's my experience.

Gaye, thanks! It's really a complement coming from a master cake baker like you.

Maryann, as a kid I hated pears - now I can't get enough.

Linda, thanks so much - sure wish I lived close enough to take Photoshop classes from you! I wish even more that we could all be together at Thanksgiving. Missing you!

Val, Amazon has copies for a very good price. The recipes seem to be reliable.

Kalyn, would love to meet you too someday! All you have to do is come to Alaska...

Bijoux, making cupcakes with this recipe would be very appropriate! Given all you have to do, I'm surprised you have time to blog at all - plus don't forget you need to add redecorating to your list. :D

Sounds good to me, Peter. I have a plate all ready for you!

Med/Turkish Cook - I agree about lemon peel, it improves most cakes. On cupcakes, my little secret is I'm not a fan. But everyone else I know is!

Lydia, I don't know anything at all about BlogHer - guess I should read up on it. As for your blog, I like it very much.

Mariana - you'll just have to make one - it's really easy. Thanks for the kind words.

Cheryl, thanks! I want some of your lemon cake - that's my favorite kind.

Nuria, I had to look up guapa - what a great word! As for bananas, you should try it and find out! Making this cake is super easy.

Louise, thanks for adding the link!

Peter, I've never been to Magnolia Bakery, but after reading their book I sure would like to. I usually bring a Costco sized bag of pecans to Greece with us every year to make baked goods for the neighbors and family. And, you're right - they go great in Greek desserts.

Thanks Chris!

Ruth E said...

I love the pear in this, the last few pear cake recipes I've seen have pureed the pear but I love when the pear is in chunks - you just appreciate the pear flavour better I think. Love that you added lemon glaze to this, finishes it off real nicely

Thanks for sending this into the bookmarked recipes round up

Núria said...

thanks Beauty ;D

Tomorrow is my father's birthday. I think I'm off to the shop to buy the ingredients :D

Anonymous said...


Laurie Constantino said...

Ruth, I agree completely - I like the little chunks of pear. And thanks for your work on Bookmarked Recipes!

Nuria, Happy Birthday to your dad!

Hi cook!

SweetDesigns said...

I have to say Pears are my favorite fruit, I love them in anything, and in a cake with pecans..omg heaven!! I so have to try this out, it looks fantastic!!

Giana said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.