You Get Out Exactly What You Put In: Pear and Dried Cherry Frangipane Cake

After I saw that it made the Los Angeles Times' recently published list of its Top 10 Recipes from 2012, I decided to try Euro Pane's Pear Spice Cake recipe. I bought seven Anjou pears and left them in the bag to fully ripen. Unfortunately I waited too long, and two pears went bad before I could get around to making the cake. But I still had five perfectly ripe pears, so I decided to make a Bon Appétit recipe that's been on my to-bake list for a long time: Pear and Dried Cherry Frangipane Cake.

This recipe is intended to be baked in an 8-inch round springform pan, but I multiplied the recipe by 1.5 and made it in a 10-inch round pan (not a springform). Once you peel and cut the pears, it comes together quickly. You beat together eggs, sugar, oil (the recipe calls for olive oil and I used canola), milk, and vanilla, add in flour (the recipe calls for self-rising but I didn't have any, so I used all-purpose flour and added salt and baking powder as well), and stir in the pears and dried cherries. You pour the batter into the buttered and parchment-lined pan, spoon on a mixture of almond paste, cinnamon, egg, sugar, and flour, and bake.

The baked cake was massive and very heavy -- it rose almost to the top my of 3-inch high pan. The almond topping expanded in the oven and ended up covering almost all of the top of the cake. After the cake cooled and I cut it, I discovered that the center was slightly undercooked -- but the undercooked portion was quite small and I was still able to cut nice slices.

I used four large pears in the cake and it ended up being mostly fruit, held together with just a little bit of batter. The actual cake batter didn't seem to add much at all in terms of flavor; the cake simply tasted like pears, cherries, almonds, and cinnamon. Now I happen to love all of those things, so I enjoyed the cake -- but I have to admit I was a little disappointed that the cake didn't end up being more than the sum of those parts.

Recipe: "Pear and Dried Cherry Frangipane Cake" from