Pear-Walnut Cake with Honey-Orange Syrup

Becky Luigart-Stayner

This is similar to pan d'Espanya (Spanish bread), which is what Sephardic Jews call sponge cake. Brushing the honey-orange syrup over the warm cake infuses it with moisture and delicate aromas. For a second-day treat, try toasting a leftover slice. Garnish with orange rind curls and star anise.

Yield: 18 servings (serving size: 1 slice)
Recipe from Cooking Light

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Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 271
  • Calories from fat: 30%
  • Fat: 8.9g
  • Saturated fat: 0.9g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4.3g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 2.9g
  • Protein: 4.1g
  • Carbohydrate: 45.4g
  • Fiber: 1.4g
  • Cholesterol: 47mg
  • Iron: 1.4mg
  • Sodium: 176mg
  • Calcium: 15mg

Ingredients

  • Cake:
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (about 13 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon aniseed, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chopped peeled pear (about 3)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • Syrup:
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. To prepare cake, coat a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray; dust with 2 tablespoons flour. Set aside.
  3. Place sugar and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until thick and pale (about 3 minutes).
  4. Lightly spoon 3 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, aniseed, salt, and cinnamon, stirring well with a whisk.
  5. Combine rind, 1/2 cup juice, oil, and vanilla. Add flour mixture to egg mixture alternately with juice mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; blend after each addition just until combined. Stir in pear and walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 375° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; loosen cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula or knife. Place a plate upside down on top of cake pan; carefully invert cake onto plate.
  6. To prepare syrup, combine honey and 2 tablespoons juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Brush warm syrup over top and sides of cake. Cool completely.
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