This super-easy cake is laced with cinnamon and sugar and topped with ripe pears. It's perfect for entertaining or as a replacement for Christmas morning cinnamon rolls. But don’t save it only for special occasions. This pear cake comes together so easily, you’ll want to make it every night of the week!
For the cake:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick/4 tablespoons) cold, unsalted butter, cut into thick slices
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the topping:
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 large or 4 medium Anjou, Bosc or Bartlett pears
- Whipped cream, for serving (optional)
1 Preheat the oven: Set a shelf in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Butter a 9-inch cake pan or a 9-inch fluted tart tin with a removable rim. Dust with flour and tap out the excess.
2 Make the batter: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until blended. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
In a measuring cup, lightly beat the milk, egg, and vanilla with a fork until blended. Add to the bowl of the food processor and process until the dough is smooth.
With the back of a spoon or a small offset spatula, spread the batter evenly in the cake pan (the batter will be thick).
3 Slice the pears: Halve the pears. Use a melon baller to cut out the cores and remove the stem ends. Slice the halves into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
4 Make the cinnamon sugar: in a small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon until combined.
5 Top the cake: Starting at the outside edge, arrange the pears over the batter in a circular pattern, overlapping them slightly to cover the batter. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
6 Bake the cake: Set the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, and the cake looks golden at the edges.
7 Cool and serve the cake: Let the cake rest in the pan for 10 minutes. If you used a pan with a removable rim, go around the edge the cake with the tip of a knife to release the edges. Set the pan on top of a small bowl and let the rim drop away.
Cut into slices from the pan and serve warm or at room temperature. A dollop of whipped cream is always a nice touch.