Pear and Walnut Cake Recipe

Pear and Walnut Cake Recipe

This Pear and Walnut Cake recipe is packed full of fruit and spicy deliciousness. Over the years I have modified this recipe and it’s become one of my family’s favorite harvest-time treats. The original recipe has quite a history and has been enjoyed by so many, so we could not resist passing it along to you.

Growing up in Northern California I spent my summers packing pears and the Fall usually meant picking walnuts. On special family occasions, we would head down a country road to the Oak Barrel Restaurant. Their tasty cake blended two locally grown products to showcase the best of the area.

I remember my time at the restaurant with fond memories because of the wonderful owners, the amazing food, and the warm family feeling. Sometimes I would drop in just for a piece of this Pear and Walnut Cake and a cup of coffee. The owners were gracious enough to share the recipe. In fact, it was published in a 1988 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.

Ingredients for Pear and Walnut Cake Recipe

  • All-purpose Flour
  • Cinnamon
  • Baking Soda
  • Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Vanilla Extract
  • 5 ripe firm Bartlett Pears, unpeeled
  • Walnuts
  • Vanilla Ice Cream or Fresh Whipped Cream (my father’s favorite was always “a la mode”)

What pears should you use for baking?

With all the different varieties on the market, it can be confusing to select the best pears for baking. For this recipe, we recommend Bartlett Pears or Anjou Pears because they soften but hold their shape while baking.

How to toast nuts for baking on the stovetop:

If possible buy the nuts whole, toast them quickly in a saute pan and grind or chop them yourself for the freshest flavor. Toasted nuts are the key to a rich flavor for this Pear Walnut Cake. For this recipe, the nuts were toasted after they were chopped.

  • Place nuts in a heavy saute pan over medium heat
  • Shake the pan frequently until the nuts begin to smell fragrant and look lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes
  • Remove from pan and cool completely
  • Grind with a nut grinder or small food processor, or put in a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to crush. You can also roughly chop with a large knife on a cutting board.

How to make Pear and Walnut Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Butter and flour a 9″ x 13″ baking pan
  • Chop and then toast walnuts, set aside
  • Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in a medium-size bowl
  • Using an electric mixer beat together the brown sugar, oil, eggs, sugar, water, and vanilla until it is very smooth
  • Add in the dry ingredients. Mix until combined
  • Core pears and cut into 1/2 inch unpeeled cubes
  • Hand stir in pears and walnuts – the batter will be lumpy but do not overmix
  • Pour batter into prepared baking pan
  • Bake until the top is medium brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 55 minutes.
  • Cool completely and cut into squares
  • Serve with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream once cooled

Ideas for additional sweets and treats on our site:

The Oak Barrel Restaurant closed many years ago but by passing on this incredible cake recipe you too can enjoy it in your home. We hope you will enjoy it as much as we do.

Pear and Walnut Cake
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5 from 5 votes

Pear and Walnut Cake Recipe

This Pear and Walnut Cake recipe is packed full of fruit and spicy deliciousness. Over the years I have modified this recipe to become one of my family's favorite harvest-time treats.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Course: Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 351kcal
Author: Jayne Harter – The Art of Food and Wine

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp in original recipe
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • tsp freshly grated nutmeg ½ tsp in original recipe
  • ½ tsp salt
  • cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 whole eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tsp vanilla 1 tsp in original recipe
  • 5 ripe firm Bartlett Pears – unpeeled
  • ½ cup chopped toasted walnuts

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Butter and flour 9" x 13" inch baking pan – set aside
  • Chop and toast walnuts, set aside
  • Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in a medium-size bowl
  • Using an electric mixer beat together brown sugar, oil, eggs, sugar, water, and vanilla in a large bowl until it is very smooth
  • Add in the dry ingredients. Mix well.
  • Core pears and cut into 1/2 inch cube unpeeled pieces
  • Hand stir in pears and walnuts – batter will be lumpy
  • Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake until the top is medium brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 55 minutes.
  • Cool completely and cut into squares.
    Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.


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