For some time now I have had the idea of making a honey cake. But I didn't want it to be just a plain honey cake. Don't get me wrong, honey cake is fantastic. However, when I imagined this dessert, I pictured some sort of fruit and chocolate tied in somehow. After some brainstorming and inspiration from the current fall season, I managed to whip up a spiced pear honey cake with chocolate tahini frosting. This cake turned out to be more than I had hoped. The warm spices with the juicy bites of pear are just magical with the creamy chocolate tahini frosting. It's divine.
Spiced Pear Honey Cake
Spiced pear honey cake
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup brown sugar (100 grams)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- ½ cup olive oil (125 ml)
- ½ cup honey (168 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (259 grams)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup buttermilk (125 ml)
- 2 cups pears, peeled and chopped (325 grams)
Chocolate tahini frosting
- ½ cup butter softened at room temperature (113 grams)
- ¼ cup tahini (65 grams)
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar (195 grams)
- ¼ cup cocoa powder (20 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds for garnish
- 1 pear sliced for garnish optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a half baking sheet pan (9x13 inches) with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
- Make the cake. Whip together the eggs with granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl until doubled in volume, about 4 minutes. It should be creamy and thick.
- Slowly add the oil and honey, mixing constantly until well combined for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.
- Stir together the flour with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Add half of the flour to the batter, stirring just until combined. Add the buttermilk and mix until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Stir in the chopped pears.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking sheet, spreading the batter evenly. Bake the cake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, make the chocolate tahini frosting. Beat the softened butter with tahini until creamy, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the powdered sugar until it's fully incorporated. Add the cocoa powder and beat until combined. Add the vanilla and milk and beat for another 30 seconds or until smooth and creamy.
- Spread the frosting on the cake in an even layer. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and garnish with sliced pears if desired.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
When I think of a pear dessert, the first things that pop into my head are cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. These warm spices go hand in hand with the fruit. Add honey to the mix and you have one delicious fall dessert.
To make the spiced pear honey cake, first, whip the eggs with both granulated sugar and brown sugar. You want to incorporate air into the eggs to help make the cake light and airy. After about four minutes, the mixture should be creamy and thick.
Slowly add the honey and oil to the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Add the vanilla and stir until incorporated.
Next, sift the dry ingredients together including the flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. I'll admit, sometimes I skip this step but in this case, I wouldn't recommend it. You don't want chunks of flour in the batter so it's important to sift it first.
Add half to the flour to the batter, followed by the buttermilk, then the remaining flour. Why do we add the flour in stages? Because this will make it easier to incorporate the flour without overmixing the cake batter. If you overmix the cake batter it can result in a tough cake.
Stir in the peeled chopped pears and pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan. I used Anjou pears but you can also use Bartlett or Bosc pears.
Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool the cake completely on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the chocolate tahini frosting. Originally I had included tahini in the cake but I personally prefer the tahini in the frosting. Plus it pairs so wonderfully with chocolate.
Spread the frosting on the cake and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and fresh sliced pears if desired. Slice into the beautiful dessert and enjoy!
At first glance, this spiced pear honey cake may look overly sweet. On the contrary, this cake is the perfect balance of fruit, warm spices, tahini, and a subtle amount of chocolate. I just couldn't get enough!
For more pear dessert inspiration check out these maple custard brioche tarts with caramelized pears!