Honey Cake with Caramelized Pears

honey cake with caramelized pears
Photo: Charles Schiller
1 10-inch cake

This moist cake -- inspired by the Rosh Hashanah traditions of eating honey cake and honey-dipped fruit to represent hope for a sweet year ahead -- is made luscious with a warm topping of pears in a honey syrup. A generous dollop of cold whipped cream is the perfect complement.


  • Unsalted butter, softened, for pan

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 2 large eggs

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • ¼ cup packed light-brown sugar

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons best-quality honey

  • ½ cup milk

  • ½ cup vegetable oil

  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

  • Caramelized Pears

  • Freshly whipped cream, or nondairy whipped topping, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform pan. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl; set aside. Mix eggs and sugars on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until pale and thick, about 3 minutes.

  2. Whisk together honey, milk, oil, and zest. With mixer on low, add honey mixture to egg mixture; mix until combined, about 1 minute. Add half the flour mixture; mix until smooth. Mix in remaining flour mixture. Pour batter into pan.

  3. Bake until dark golden brown and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of cake; carefully remove sides of pan.Transfer cake to a platter. Top with pears. Serve with whipped cream or topping, if desired.

Cook's Notes

If you keep kosher and would like to make dairy-free versions of these recipes, substitute margarine for the butter, and soy milk for the regular milk. The cake can be made (without the pears) one day ahead, and stored in plastic wrap at room temperature.

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