This Apple Or Pear Cake Recipe Is Easy And Perfect For Fall

This Apple or Pear Cake recipe is an easy and delicious way to use the seasonal fruits of the fall and it can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dessert.

Apple Or Pear Cake Recipe - browned

Browned Nicely

I love cooking seasonally, or at least trying to (nobody is perfect), and this delicious recipe is a perfect example of that. Here in Rome you can get apple or pear cake (Torta di Mele or Torta di Pere) all year round, but I prefer to make it myself when the fruit is ripest.

This recipe is great because it isn’t overpowered with fall spices, like cinnamon, and it allows for the flavors of the fruit to shine through. The cake batter is simple and easily adapted to whichever fruit you choose. I made this recipe with both pears and apples and they are both delicious.

Santoku Knife

The Santoku style knife is my favorite when I’m cooking and Victorinox makes a great one!

Kitchen Tools And Cookware

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Pasta MakerGnocchi BoardPasta BoardRavioli Maker
Ravioli Press/StamperRicerBialetti Pasta PotBamboo Cutting Board Set of 3
Silpat Baking MatSantoku KnifeMeasuring Cups and SpoonsStainless Mixing Bowls
Dutch OvenMesh StrainersStainless ColanderStainless Steel Fry Pan

Apple Or Pear Cake Recipe Recommendations

  • Bartlett Pears or Renette Apples – Both the Bartlett pears (a.k.a. Williams Pears) and Renette apples are in season here in Rome so it was easy to use these specific varieties of fruit. If you are having difficulty finding these same varieties, feel free to try some others, but be sure to use apples or pears that can stay firm after cooking for nearly an hour and don’t turn to mush.
  • Which Flour To Use – I used the “00” flour, which is widely available here in Rome, but you can use an All Purpose flour if you have that available. Since this is a cake, you might consider using a Cake flour, but I would not recommend that. The “00” is commonly used for pizza dough, which is elastic and has higher protein, and cake flour is lower protein and might not hold up to the heavy fruit being added. Use either A/P or Bread flour.
  • Different Pans – When I made these cakes, I used two different pans, a glass Pyrex tart pan and an aluminum round cake pan. The results were very different, so some cooking times might vary for you. The important thing to remember is that you want the cake browned on top, but not burned. When you are near the end of the 45 minute cooking time, check on how the browning is going and extend the cooking time if you feel like it needs it.

  • Breadcrumbs versus Flour – Usually, when I butter or grease a baking dish, I would coat it with flour, or occasionally sugar, but this is the first time I coated it with breadcrumbs and I was really excited about the results. The key is to use the finely ground breadcrumbs and not the larger Panko crumbs because the result is a crunchy coating that was unexpectedly great!

Frequently Asked Questions About Apple Or Pear Cake

While this is a pretty straightforward recipe, people do have some questions about cooking with pears and apples, and I’m happy to help.

Are Williams And Bartlett Pears The Same?

Yes, Williams and Bartlett pears are the same thing, so don’t worry if you only find Bartlett pears at your local grocery store. The Bartlett Pear we know today in North America is the same variety that is called the “Williams” in many other parts of the world.

Apple Or Pear Cake Recipe - Both

Try Apples Also

What Can You Do With Old Pears?

Because the cooking time is so long, this is a great recipe for using up some older pears. You need to make sure you peel the fruit and chop into smaller cubes, but be careful to remove any brown bits. This is the same preparation for apples.

Should Pears Be Peeled Before Baking?

I believe both pears and apples should be peeled before using them because with such a long cooking time, you don’t want to wind up with a bunch of peels filling the cake, just fruit. The important thing to remember is to add the peeled fruit to a bowl of water with lemon juice (acidulated) to prevent browning of the fruit.

Mixing Bowls

Only recently have a realized how great mixing bowls with lids are and these stainless steel beauties are amazing!

What Is A Secret Ingredient For Cakes?

This cake is so simple that there isn’t much room for additional ingredients and the opportunity for secrets is limited. However, you could add some vanilla extract to this cake and you will be very happy with the results. I highly recommend doing this. 

Can You Substitute Apple For Pear?

You not only CAN substitute apples for the fruit, you really should. Both of these fruits are from the same season and have similar results when baking, so I would recommend trying both. If you want to, you can also do a mix of the two, but keep the final measurement the same to not overfill the pan.

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Apple Or Pear Cake Recipe - Ingredients


Apple Or Pear Cake Recipe

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Servings: 6-8

Apple Or Pear Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. (1 kg) of Williams or Bartlett Pears (or Renette Apples)
  • 5 ounces (150 g) of “00” Flour
  • 5 ounces (150 g) of Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 4 ounces of Milk
  • 2 ounces (50 g) of Butter
  • 2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1 Lemon
  • Bread Crumbs
Apple Or Pear Cake Recipe - Simple Batter

Simple Batter

Pear Cake Recipe Cooking Instructions

  1. Butter a baking pan and coat it with fine breadcrumbs.

  2. Peel the pears and put them in a bowl with water and the juice of a lemon. 

  3. Cut the fruit into small cubes and return them to the acidulated water.

  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and yolk with the sugar, flour, baking powder and milk.

  5. Add the fruit to the batter and mix well.

  6. Pour the mixture into the pan and spread it evenly.

  7. Cook in a hot oven at 350°F for 45 minutes.

  8. When it is well browned, remove and let rest for 5 minutes.

  9. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and serve.

Apple Or Pear Cake Recipe - Apple Version

Apple Cake

Pear Cake Serving Suggestions

My favorite way to enjoy this pear cake is to eat it not long after you remove it from the oven, but you might find these alternatives equally enjoyable:

  • Room Temperature After Dinner
  • Warm And A La Mode (With Vanilla Gelato)
  • Chilled From The Refrigerator
  • Cold For Breakfast With Coffee

Previous Italian Recipes And Posts That Might Interest You

If you enjoyed this seasonal and delicious recipe, here are some of other fantastic recipes that you might want to try:

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