Perfect for Fall, this recipe calls for Bosc pears, try not to substitute- this varietal has firmer flesh than others, which helps hold its shape during baking. You will swoon over the combination of sweet, sticky cardamon spiked honey liberally soaked into this lovely cake.
For the cake:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup honey
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Bosc pears, thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline if possible
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
For the cardamom honey
3/4 cup local honey
Pinch of cardamom, plus more as needed
For the whipped cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped and reserved, or 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons sugar
To make the cake, preheat an oven to 325°F degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of buttered parchment paper.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the honey and beat until smooth, about an additional minute. Add the eggs and vanilla until combined, another 1 minute or so. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in 2 additions, beating until no streaks of flour remain and all lumps have disappeared.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top with a wet spatula.
Fan the pear slices on top of the batter, overlapping them slightly and gently pushing them down so they sink slightly into the batter. Bake until the cake is deep golden brown and the pears are tender, 50 to 55 minutes depending on how your oven responds. Add chopped walnuts over the top of the cake during the last 10 minutes of baking time. Poke the center with a toothpick and if it pulls out clean your cake is ready to be removed from the oven.
Meanwhile, while the cake is baking, prepare the cardamom honey.
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the honey and cardamom and heat, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Taste and add more cardamom, if desired. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
To make the whipped cream, in the clean bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the cream, vanilla, and sugar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes; do not overbeat. Keep chilled.
Transfer the cake pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then invert the pan gently onto the rack, lift off the pan and peel the parchment paper off the cake. Using a second wire rack, turn the cake right side up, so the baked pears are facing you. While the cake is still warm, place the rack with the cake on top of a plastic-wrapped lined baking sheet and pour the warmed cardamom honey evenly over the cake.
Transfer the cake to a platter, cut it into slices and serve warm, spooning some of the whipped cream on top of each slice.
Pro Tip: A mandoline makes fast work of cutting the pears into thin, uniform slices.