Fresh Pear Cake, Minus the Pears

Name one person who hasn't found a recipe that tempted the taste buds, realized they didn't have all the ingredients, but cooked it anyway! Hence, pear cake minus the pears. They were also tired of being tossed into a cobbler or crisp. Maybe bread?

Looking for this kind of recipe reminded me of my short childhood career in 4-H.

Every kid should experience 4-H at some time in their life. This is where I learned to sew and model my creations at the Count Fair. Carefully tucked in the back of the closet is my prized blue-ribbon dress. I was so proud! Blue fabric with a matching tie, it sported a zippered back and bold white star on the front. No more ribbon,. but by-golly I have that dress!!

Cooking was another favored venture in 4-H. Who knew that the simple science of reading, measuring, mixing, and baking could produce the most amazing smells on earth? Without a doubt, the steaming aroma of pig on a spit has incited peace treaties!

But let's not forget how 4-H made me cry. Like a baby. An inconsolable baby!

That year I baked an apple quick bread. It was probably nothing special - flour, sugar, spices, apples. We trekked to the fairgrounds, registered my bread, and then I ran off to play with friends. Several hours later, the judges gathered and starting tasting each entry. Mine was next. The lady judges sampled, awarded a ribbon, and then the worst thing EVER happened. MY BREAD WAS GOING TO BE SOLD!!!

What?? No one told me that I couldn't keep my prize-winning recipe. How could anyone blindside a kid like that? Didn't they know that I cherished that recipe? Didn't they care that every one else got a taste of it EXCEPT ME? And now someone else gets to eat the entire loaf? Never mind that I could bake another. That wasn't the point!!! This was my loaf, it won a ribbon and I wanted it. OK. Maybe that a little dramatic. My 8-year-old self was introverted and very quiet. None of these thoughts were enunciated; however, they generated a wave of alligator tears as I hid in my mother's wing. I'm also sure that my 8-year-old brain had already devised a plan for preservation. Who knows? Maybe I'd still have that hidden in the back of my closet, too!

Whoops! Got a little side-tracked there. Let's get back to the present.

Fresh Pear Cake, minus the pears. Yes, searching for an apple recipe led to a pear cake. Yum! Simple ingredients like flour, sugar, spices and pears (apples) - everything was on-hand and pulled together in about 30 minutes, plus time in the oven. Hardly ever do I follow a recipe exactly as it's written. Ingredients are substituted. Processes are tweaked. This time is no exception. In fact, I made so many changes that I'm claiming the recipe as my own.

Fresh Pear/Apple Cake

  • 4 pears/apples
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. ground nutmeg
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 c. oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 9x13 pan.* Core and chop pears or apples. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon. Combine eggs and oil. Whisk until combined. Add to dry ingredients and stir until almost combined leaving pockets of dry mixture. Add pears/apples and stir until combined. Dump into pan.* Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, rotating half-way through. Test with a toothpick.

* My baking pans of choice are either cast iron or stoneware. Stoneware is naturally non-stick and needs no prep for baking. Cast iron needs to be seasoned to become non-stick, and eventually needs no prep, either.

Give it a whirl and share your experience. I'd love to see pictures of your final creation, too!