Amaretto Pear Cake takes just 40 minutes to make! It's so easy, you don't even need a mixer. Just stir the egg-free batter with a fork. Canned pears provide the perfect texture, and the pear syrup makes a delicious glaze with amaretto!
This pear cake and I go way back. I've been making a version of this for nearly 30 years!
It started as an American recipe for pear shortcake. That means it's an egg-free cake with a batter made by cutting butter into the dry ingredients, adding milk and tossing it together with a fork.
Of course, I had to "Italianize" the pear cake recipe by adding amaretto to the syrupy glaze. Then I added almond extract to the batter.
I'm so glad I did.
This easy pear cake is moist and delicious, with almond, cinnamon and pear flavors shining through. It has a coffee-cake vibe but isn't as tall. (It's a single-layer cake made in a 9-inch round cake pan.)
So, you'll have eight glorious servings that are just right. My family devours this cake in 24 hours!
I always put aside a couple of slices for Mom and Dad, since they love this pear dessert too. And, speaking of that, don't miss this Gluten-Free Pear Crisp!
Pears: As the name of this recipe indicates, we're using canned pears here. We need their soft texture and some of the syrup that comes with them.
Buy sliced Bartlett pears in syrup (affiliate link). If you only have canned pear halves, slice them before using them in this recipe.
Pear Syrup: You only need ¼ cup to use for the glaze, so you'll have extra. I usually discard the leftover syrup, but you can use it on fluffy dairy-free waffles, pancakes or even oatmeal, if you wish.
Almond Extract: After years of making this amaretto pear cake without added flavoring, I've recently been making it with almond extract in the batter. It perfectly complements the amaretto-pear glaze, and I'll never go back. The almond flavor is divine, but you can skip it, if you prefer.
Amaretto: We're mixing this delicious, almond liqueur with some pear syrup to make the glaze. If you need to skip the alcohol, don't worry. The almond extract in the cake should provide enough flavor.
But, cake with amaretto is my love language. I use amaretto in my Torta Caprese (Flourless Chocolate-Almond Cake) and have been known to pour it over servings of this Angel Food Cake with Raspberries. I even make Strawberry Pie with Amaretto!
How to make pear cake with canned pears
(See the recipe card at the end of this post for full instructions, but here's an overview.)
- Whisk the dry ingredients and cut in the slices of butter with a pastry blender (affiliate link) or two knives.
- The mixture should look like course meal.
- Add the milk and almond extract.
- Stir the batter with a fork, just until combined.
- Transfer the batter to a greased, 9-inch round cake pan. Add the pear slices in a decorative pattern. Brush on some of the amaretto-pear glaze. Sprinkle on cinnamon.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Glaze some more after cooling.
Adorning the cake with pear slices in a starburst pattern is an eye-catching, simple way to decorate. And the tender, glazed pears taste delicious atop the cinnamon-almond cake!
- The batter is a bit sticky, so grease a silicone spatula with cooking spray before using it to spread the mixture in your pan.
- Now that I've made this using three different ovens over the years, I've noticed baking times can vary. Plan to check on it after 25 minutes, looking for the top to be golden brown and using a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center to see if it comes out clean. When the cake is baking and you suddenly smell the aroma of cinnamon, it's a sign the cake is probably done.
What to serve with pear cake
This cake is delicious plain, but I often serve it with a dollop of whipped cream. A scoop of vanilla ice cream also would work. And don't forget a cup of coffee (or tea), or a glass of milk to go with it!
Frequently asked questions
Canned pears work best in this recipe, because they have the perfect, soft texture and come with the heavy syrup needed for the glaze. If you want to use fresh fruit, use very tender, overripe pears. You'll have to make an amaretto simple syrup to use for the glaze.
I haven't tried it, but you should be able to make this a vegan pear cake by using almond milk in place of dairy milk and vegan butter in place of regular butter. You need to use some type of butter, rather than oil, because the butter gets cut into the flour mixture to make coarse crumbs. It's similar to making biscuits.
More cake recipes to enjoy
- The Best Jewish Apple Cake
- Sour Cream Pound Cake (Light)
- Single Layer Carrot Cake without Nuts
- Orange Cake with Whipped Cream
If you make this Amaretto Pear Cake with Canned Pears, be sure to leave a comment and a rating!
Amaretto Pear Cake with Canned Pears
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (measure by spooning it into the cups and leveling off the top)
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (divided use)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons salted butter (sliced into six pieces)
- ¾ cup milk (2% is fine)
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 15.25 ounces can of sliced Bartlett pears in heavy syrup (Reserve¼ cup syrup. Drain the rest or store it for another use.)
- ¼ cup heavy syrup from can of pears
- ½ tablespoon Amaretto liqueur (can omit if needed)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (See notes, since ovens vary.) Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray.
- Drain the pears, reserving ¼ cup of syrup. (You won't need the rest of the syrup.) Pat the pears dry with paper towels.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and ½ teaspoon cinnamon until combined. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
- Whisk the almond extract into the milk and pour it over the flour mixture. Toss with a fork until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Use a spatula greased with cooking spray to scrape the batter into the cake pan. Smooth the surface with the spatula until the batter is even and reaches the edges. Arrange the pears on top in a circular pattern.
- Whisk the reserved heavy pear syrup with the amaretto and brush some on the pears and batter (you will brush more on later, after it bakes.) Sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon of cinnamon (use a fine mesh strainer for even distribution, if you wish.) Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (See notes.)
- Transfer the cake (in the pan) to a wire rack and let it cool for 15 minutes. Brush it again with some amaretto-pear syrup.
- Invert the cake onto a plate. Remove the pan and invert again onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Serve the pear cake with extra amaretto-pear syrup brushed on the top and sides, if desired. You can add whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if you wish.
- Pour the rest of the amaretto-pear syrup over the remaining cake to keep it moist before storing it. Keep the cake covered at room temperature for up to five days (but if you have any cake with whipped cream on it, store it in the refrigerator).
(Recipe Source: Adapted from Great American Recipes,1988. Originally published here on October 9, 2014 and updated now with new photos, an improved recipe and additional text.)