Pear-Cardamom Cakes

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Preparation info

  • Makes


    Individual Cakes
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free

Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free

By Karen Morgan

Published 2010

  • About

This recipe is simple, beautiful and delicious.


  • 5 cups water
  • ½ cup Grade A dark amber maple syrup
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar, plus cup
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar, plus cup
  • 4 large pears, peeled and cored
  • ¾ cup sorghum flour
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon guar gum
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup ( sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted cultured butter at room temperature, diced
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup organic buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups dark raisins
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup sanding sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • crème fraîche for serving
  • rosemary sprigs for garnish


Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a jellyroll pan and line it with parchment paper. Butter the paper.

In a large Dutch oven, combine the water, maple syrup, the ¼ cup granulated sugar, and the ¼ cup light brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all the sugar has melted and the syrup has reached a steady low boil, about 5 minutes. Add the pears and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until fork-tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a wire rack set on a jellyroll pan and let cool completely.

Cut the pears into ¼-inch dice and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the rest of the dry ingredients, including the cup granulated sugar and cup light brown sugar, and mix on low speed to blend.

With the machine running, add the butter and beat until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until smooth. Pour in the buttermilk and the vanilla and mix on high speed for 1 minute, or until light and fluffy.

Fold in the pears and pour the batter into the prepared pan. In a small bowl, stir together the dark and golden raisins and sprinkle them evenly over the batter. Using a rubber spatula, softly press the raisins into the batter and smooth the top.

Mix the sanding sugar with the ground cardamom until there are no visible clumps. Sprinkle the cardamom sugar evenly over the batter.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and springy to the touch.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 8 rounds from the cake and place them on a clean work surface. Using a 1-inch scalloped pastry cutter, cut out 16 more cake rounds. Stir the crème fraîche until smooth.

Spread the top of one 2-inch cake round with crème fraîche and then top with a 1-inch round.

Apply another thin layer of crème fraîche to the top of this round, then top with another 1-inch cake. Repeat until all of your cakes have been assembled.

Serve each cake garnished with a dollop of crème fraîche and a few rosemary leaves.

These cakes store very well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

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