Pear cake (Joêl Robuchon)

This cake is from  Les Dimanches de Joêl Robuchon which presumably contain a few of the celebrated chef’s favorite recipes. We had a glut of pears this year and to be honest, they were not that great.  I’d feel forlorn looking at them day after day, as some would develop black spots and end up tossed in the trash bin.

Then  I read this recipe, which caramelizes the pears prior to incorporating them in the cake batter. Perfect technique to rescue mediocre pears.

This cake  is a treat to eat; it has a soft and delicate crumb. The kitchen  filled with a delightful caramel aroma while it was baking.


  •  2 lbs of pears ( 1 kg) (about 6 pears)
  • 3 sticks  unsalted butter, room temperature (350 g)
  • 1 3/4 cup sifted flour (250 g)
  • 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar (250 g)
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of honey (50 g)
  • dash salt
  • 1 tsp pear brandy (or another type of brandy)
  1. Grease a long cake mold, place a piece of baking paper in it and store in the fridge. 
  2. Peel and dice the pears (1/2 ” bits) and place in a bowl; melt 4 tbsp of butter in a large skillet and pan-fry the pears over medium-low heat for about 8 minutes; add the honey and stir gently for a few minutes until the pears are golden and caramelized. Turn off the heat and set them in the fridge to cool quickly (drain the extra fat first). 
  3. In a mixing bowl, place the butter and cream it for two minutes; add the powdered sugar and cream the mixture for a few minutes until it gets lighter in color and very creamy in texture. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat; if the batter looks a bit curdled at the end, that’s not a problem; add the flour, salt and baking powder and mix till the cake batter is smooth and well combined. Transfer to a bowl and fold the caramelized pears in. Pour into the cake pan and bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out dry. Cool for 10 minutes and flip the cake onto a serving dish. 
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  1. Posted December 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Now I see something tasty to do with all the pears each fall. How tasty this looks.

  2. Posted December 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    A delicious looking cake! I love the way the pears are prepared before incorporating them to the batter.



  3. Posted December 4, 2012 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    Oh, this cake looks lovely. I also think it would be great with cooked Turkish ayva. I will have to test it out. ;-)

  4. Posted December 4, 2012 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    I adore pears, and warm dense cakes, so this is about as good as it gets!

  5. Posted December 4, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Joumana, this looks fantastic! Pears are probably my favorite fruit!

  6. Posted December 4, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Incredible pear cake,loving that super spongy slice.

  7. Posted December 5, 2012 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    Sounds like a great way to use those rock hard pears you find at the supermarket!

  8. Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    love your blog!
    Wonderful photos!

  9. Posted December 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    This is my kind of dessert! Not too suite nor covered in frosting. I know I would love it!

  10. Posted December 5, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    I love Joel Robuchon and am eager to try this recipe! Pinned it for a post holiday treat.

  11. Posted December 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi Joumana – I want to make this for my holiday baking. I need to make 5 loaves. Can you please let me know if I can freeze them and how long will these keep?

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  12. Joumana
    Posted December 8, 2012 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    @Devaki: You can freeze them but I would not freeze them for longer than 3 weeks.

  13. Posted December 10, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Oh I love that the pear chunks are caramelized before baking in this lovely cake. This is my husband’s favorite kind of treat and he loves pears. I’ve bookmarked this one. Perfect.

  14. Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Tu l’as bien réussit car il est très beau….j’aime

  15. Posted December 12, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Oohhh…cooking with the master today, I love it!

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