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Three-Tier Candied-Pecan Cake with Brown-Butter Pears

Recipe photo courtesy of Johnny Miller

This cake can be made in advance, but we love it when the filling is warm and syrupy. If you have about 20 minutes to make the filling just before assembling the cake, go for it.

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2011
Total Time Prep Servings Yield


For the Candied Pecans

For the Cake

For the Pear Filling

For the Bourbon Whipped Cream


Cook's Notes

Layered cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Top with whipped cream just before serving.

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How would you rate this recipe?
  • ALR7496898DW
    27 DEC, 2018
    I made this cake for my birthday ans it was awesome. I don't drink so I had to.change the whipped cream but followed the rest of the recipe as written and it was amazing.
  • thefenngirls
    19 NOV, 2013
    Does anyone know the adjustments for high altitude? Approx. 6000 feet? Would LOVE to make this for thanksgiving!
  • Born2run9
    15 NOV, 2013
    Did a test run prior to Thanksgiving, glad I did. My pears were ripe and quickly got mushy- use firmer pears. Found cake had more of a coffee cake texture, not really cake like but perhaps the dense texture is needed to support the pears. I used Brandy since I had no bourbon and was very good. Mixed reviews from family but will take for Thanksgiving since I was looking for something not too sweet or rich.
  • Kathryn1960
    23 NOV, 2012
    I baked this cake and then read the reviews when I went to pin it on my "Best thing I ever made" board. I was worried because the reviews were not very kind. BUT everyone thought it was yummy. All the flavors work together. This is a good addition to the dessert buffet and I can't wait to have a piece the Day AFTER Thanksgiving for breakfast. You need to give this one a try. Worth the effort.
  • neptunecello
    18 DEC, 2011
    I made this for a Christmas party last night. While guests raved about it, I was mildly disappointed. As another reviewer said, the cake wasn't particularly fluffy, despite the folded-in egg-whites. In fact, when cut, it was a little bit dry & crumbly. The presentation (before being cut), however, is quite stunning, especially for a party. I definitely recommend using more spices for the batter itself - not just in the candied pecans. More cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.
  • gracemliu
    4 DEC, 2011
    This recipe was decent although the cake wasn't as fluffy as I thought it was going to be. Usually folding in beaten egg whites results in sponge-like cakes, but this one was not. Also, I strongly do not recommend adding bourbon to the whipped creamed topping. I did and it was way too strong. Perhaps a milder liquor such as Kahlua or Baileys would work better.
  • gracemliu
    2 DEC, 2011
  • Anarie
    25 NOV, 2011
    This was fabulous! The cake was moist, even though I mistakenly used 9" pans instead of 8" and consequently overbaked it. The only thing I would change is to increase the pears. I think you could use about 6-7 without the layers slipping. I couldn't use alcohol in the whipped cream because there were children among the guests, but I think a pear or apple brandy would be nicer than bourbon. I added a drop each of almond and orange extract, which was better than plain cream.

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