This Spiced Vegan Pear Cake combines soft, moist cake with juicy pears, sweet, warm spices, and crumbly streusel topping for the most delightful dessert that’s perfect for fall.
This cake obviously makes an excellent dessert. It’s fancy enough for the holidays, but easy enough to be enjoyed for any occasion.
It’s also an ideal match for a cup of coffee or tea for breakfast or snack.
The cake itself is just sweet enough. The pears on top bake up soft and creamy, resembling a custard-like texture that is just so luscious. The crumbly streusel topping sends it over the top.
This Spiced Vegan Pear Cake is a favorite in our house and it’s sure to be a new favorite in yours, too!
Ingredients you need
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Flour ~ I used all-purpose flour for this recipe.
I have not tested any other flours, but I imagine you could use a gluten-free flour blend meant to replace wheat flour at a 1:1 ratio
Sugar ~ Just ½ cup of cane sugar will make this cake just sweet enough while allowing the pears and spices to shine.
Spices ~ Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg bring warmth and a sweet spiciness. They complement the pears perfectly. If you like bold spice flavor, you can increase the amounts of each by about ¼ teaspoon.
Milk ~ Almost any unsweetened, plain non-dairy milk will work. I used almond milk. Soy milk, oat milk, or rice milk can be used, as well.
Yogurt ~ Yogurt adds some necessary fat to keep the cake fluffy and moist. I used a vanilla almond milk yogurt. Any vegan yogurt in plain or vanilla flavor should work.
Pears ~ You need two fresh pears for this pear cake recipe. Red or green is fine. One will be peeled and diced and added to the cake batter. The other will be sliced and fanned out on top of the cake for a beautiful presentation.
Use just ripe pears for best flavor and texture. Super ripe pears will be mushy and won’t hold their shape well when sliced or diced. Rock hard pears will be hard to cut and won’t be sweet and juicy.
If you don’t like pears, I suggest you give them a try in this cake. They are almost indistinguishable from apples once baked with the spices. My son claims to not like pears and he loved this spiced pear cake!
However, apples can be substituted if you don’t have pears to make this into a Vegan Apple Cake.
Topping ~ I made a crumbly streusel topping for this vegan pear cake and it’s divine! I highly recommend giving it a try, but it is optional. The cake is delicious and flavorful on its own.
You could also garnish with a sprinkling of flaked almonds or chopped pecans or walnuts and a dusting of powdered sugar.
A drizzle of vegan caramel sauce just before serving would be scrumptious, too!
How to make the recipe
For exact ingredient measurements and step-by-step instructions, scroll down to the recipe card.
- Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Whisk the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Stir the dry into the wet until just combined. Do not over mix!
- Add the peeled, diced pears to the batter and mix gently to distribute.
5. Pour the batter into a prepared pie pan.
6. Fan out the fresh pear slices around the center.
7. Sprinkle with streusel topping, if using.
8. Bake until the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Storage and freezing
Counter: This Spiced Vegan Pear Cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature up to 2 days.
Fridge: The cake can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Let it cool completely before transferring to a container.
Freezer: You may also store this vegan dessert in the freezer. Let it cool completely before wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. It should keep well for up to 3 months.
Pro tips and tricks
~ Use the spoon and level method of measuring flour. Fluff up the flour with a spoon, then spoon the flour into a measuring cup, overfilling it a little. Using the back of a knife, level off the top. Do not scoop the flour directly out of the bag using the measuring cup and do not press or pack down the flour in the measuring cup.
~ Do not over mix the batter! Mix gently just until no visible white flour remains. A few lumps in the batter is okay. Over mixing the batter is the #1 culprit of tough, rubbery cakes!
~ Spray the pie pan with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.
~ The streusel topping is optional, but highly recommended! Cut the butter into the flour/sugar mixture with a fork, pastry cutter or your clean hands. Do not melt the butter – the topping will turn into a paste and won’t get that perfect crumbly, crisp texture that streusel is known for.
~ The cake is done when it beings to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
~ Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 15 to 20 minutes before cutting.
The most popular and widely available pears are Anjou, Barlett, and Bosc. Any of those would work for this spiced pear cake. I like a red variety for the pear slices used as garnish on top for a pop of color, but green or even the brown Bosc pears would work.
While pear skins are edible, I suggest that you peel them for the diced pears that are stirred into the cake batter. For the slices that are fanned out on top of the cake for garnish, I leave the skins on because I think it looks prettier, though you can peel those, too, if you prefer.
Yes! Let the spiced vegan pear cake cool completely before wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Label the outside with the name of the recipe and the date. It should keep well for up to 3 months.
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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Spiced Vegan Pear Cake
- 9-inch round pie pan
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup dairy-free plain or vanilla yogurt
- ½ cup cane sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened, non-dairy milk I used almond
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 medium fresh pear peeled, seeded, and diced
- 1 medium fresh pear sliced
Streusel Topping, optional
- ¼ cup cane sugar or brown sugar
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cold vegan butter
For the Spiced Vegan Pear Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9-inch round pie pan with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- If you will be using the streusel topping, make it now (instructions below) and set aside. If you are not using the streusel topping, skip to the next step.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt and sugar until well combined. Whisk in the milk, lemon juice, and vanilla.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Do not over mix! No white flour should be visible, but lumps are okay.
- Gently stir in the diced pear.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to get it all in the pan. Smooth out the top with a spatula.
- Arrange the pear slices on top of the batter either fanned out in a circle or however you think looks pretty.
- Sprinkle the streusel, if using, evenly over the top of the cake and pear slices.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Transfer the cake, still in the pan, to a wire cooling rack to cool for about 15 to 20 minutes before slicing.
For the Streusel Topping
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon (if using), and salt in a bowl.
- "Cut" in the butter using a fork, pastry cutter, or clean hands until it resembles coarse sand. The crumbles don't have to be uniform in size. I actually prefer to just get in there with my hands and squeeze everything together until it's crumbly.