Did anyone else get snow this past weekend? A few sprinkles came our way here on Long Island and it was a harsh reminder that despite a ridiculously warm fall, winter is on it’s way. Even though I enjoy the outdoors year round, when the weather starts to turn cold and snowy, I immediately look forward to being “stuck” inside. There’s comfort in a roaring cozy fireplace, hot soup simmering on the stove and something yummy baking in the oven.
Speaking of baking…the holiday baking season is about to kick into gear with Thanksgiving just a few days away. As such, this month’s Recipe Redux challenge is to show off a healthy holiday dessert we’ll be sharing with friends and family this holiday season. Now dessert is something I take pretty seriously. I typically don’t like health-ified versions of my favorite sweet treats…it can sometimes ruin the fun, not to mention the taste! On the other hand, I also feel that desserts don’t have to be full of crap in order to taste delicious or indulgent. There are lots of ways to create sweetness without adding a ton of sugar…like say, with fruit!
I love using things like dates, applesauce or berries to make sweet treats but during this RR brainstorming sesh, the idea of using pears kept coming back to me so I decided to go that route. Of course I love pears for snacking, but had never really baked with them. Honestly, I remember eating lots of canned pears growing up and the idea of poaching or baking fresh ones never really occurred to me. I’ve used apples in baking before, so why not pears? Just like that, I started drafting a recipe for Pear Almond Bundt Cake.
Pears are usually available year-round, but many varieties are in peak season during the late fall and winter, so I’m giving myself bonus points for using seasonal fruit in this holiday cake. This deceptively decadent cake combines fresh pears with almond and oat flour, eggs, a touch of maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. If you’ve never baked with almond flour before, keep in mind that the resulting product is usually more dense and moist (almost sticky) than regular wheat flour due to the higher fat content. In this recipe, almond flour resulted in the most perfect cake texture and flavor!
One bundt cake serves up to ten people and each slice is packed with protein, fiber, healthy fats from the almonds, and only about 3g of added sugar. I brought this cake to a family dinner last weekend and everyone went crazy over it, so much so that I didn’t even bother disclosing that it was “healthy”. This cake can definitely hold its own on the holiday dessert table.
Slivered almonds and powdered sugar dress the cake up a bit and add a little crunch, but you can easily skip the toppings. Also, if you don’t have a bundt pan, this cake will do well in a regular cake pan or even muffin tins!
- 4 large eggs
- 5 medium pears (I used bosc)
- 2 TBSP pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1.5 cups almond flour
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- (optional) powdered sugar, sliced almonds for decorating
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place pears into a food processor or blender and pulse until chopped.*
- Combine wet ingredients (including pears) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
- Stir wet ingredients into dry until batter is formed.
- Pour into a bundt or cake pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until cake is firm and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and allow to set. If made in a bundt pan, flip cake onto plate or platter. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and/or powdered sugar before serving.
- *If you don’t have a food processor, pears can be chopped small.
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Be sure to click through the links below for more lightened up holiday desserts from fellow Recipe Reduxers!