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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Recipe: Honey Cake with Caramelized Pears

We all like to have a sweet treat now and then, but who says that dessert has to be bad for us? Natural sweeteners like honey and molasses can give your baking a flavour boost, while also cutting down on sugar.

Try to use honey produced in the Lower Mainland or in the province when you can. In Burnaby, for instance, some people keep honeybees in their backyards for honey. Check out our post on urban apiculture (beekeeping) for more information. Farmers' markets and some grocery stores are also good places to find local honey. Scroll to the bottom of this post for more.

This recipe is from our Healthy Holiday Baking workshop, taught by baker Scott Bernstein.

Tip: Brush a little oil on the inside of the measuring spoon (or cup) and the honey will slide right out without sticking or creating a mess.

Honey Cake with Caramelized Pears

To email, print, or text this recipe, click here.


For the cake:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup milk (or milk substitute)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, grated
Unsalted butter, softened, for pan

For the pears:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 lbs pears, cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges (or 1/4-inch wedges if pears are firm)
1/4 cup good quality honey

Things you need

Mixing bowls
Measuring cups and spoons
10-inch springform pan
Toothpick or knife
Large skillet
Wire cooling rack

Credit: Magnolia Lim


For the cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Oil the springform pan and dust the bottom lightly with flour.

3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.

4. Whisk together the eggs and sugars in a separate bowl. Mix until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. Set aside.

5. In another bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, oil, and lemon zest. Slowly add this honey mixture to the egg mixture, and mix until well combined.

6. Fold in half of the flour mixture to the honey and egg combination, and stir until smooth. Repeat with the remaining half of the flour.

7. Pour the batter into the springform pan.

8. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until dark golden brown. To test whether it is done, put a toothpick or knife into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.

9. Put the pan on a wire rack and let the cake cool inside of it for 15 minutes.

10. Run a thin knife around the edge of the cake and remove the cake from the pan.

11. To serve, put the cake on a plate and top with caramelized pears.

For the pears:

1. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

2. Add the sugar and stir until it is almost dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Add the pears. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the pears and soft and just golden, about 12 to 20 minutes.

4. Pour in the honey. Continue stirring gently and cook until the pears are coated in the honey-sugar mixture  and are very soft. This will take 3 to 5 minutes.

Local Honey Resources:

Janice Bobic, Burnaby honey producer, of My Father's Garden (604) 298-6164
Burnaby Farmers' Market
Vancouver Winter Farmers' Market

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