Apple-Cider Pear Spelt Cake

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apple cider pear spelt cake recipe
Photo: Nico Schinco/Styling: Erin McDowell

Ever wish you could help yourself to a slice of cake that doesn’t make you feel like you’ve used up your dessert quota for the week? Same. That’s where this apple-cider pear spelt cake comes in. Made with spelt—an ancient, nutrient-packed type of wheat—it gains natural sweetness from the fruit, plus a tad of brown sugar.

“Apple cider–poached pears are packed tightly into the pan and then surrounded by cake batter,” explains recipe developer Erin McDowell. “The batter is made using spelt flour, which gives it a beautiful color and a lightly nutty flavor.”

The finished loaf looks simple on the outside but reveals luxurious slices of whole pears when cut. 


Poached Pears

2 cups apple cider

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

4 small (600g) pears, peeled

Brown Sugar Spelt Cake

Nonstick spray

½ cup (99g) melted coconut oil

¾ cup (160g) light brown sugar

1 large (56g) egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup (224g) buttermilk

1 cup (99g) spelt flour

¾ cup (90g) all-purpose flour, plus 3 tablespoons

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cardamom


1. Make the Poached Pears: In a medium pot, bring the cider, cinnamon, cardamom and 1 cup water to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Add the pears and cook, stirring to rotate the pears occasionally, until they just begin to soften, 20 to 22 minutes. Remove the fruit from the liquid and let dry on absorbent paper towels. Cool completely.

2. Make the Brown Sugar Spelt Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut oil and brown sugar. Add the egg, vanilla and buttermilk, and mix until well incorporated.

4. Add the spelt flour, ¾ cup all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cardamom, and mix to combine.

5. Toss the pears with the remaining 3 tablespoons flour to fully coat.

6. Pour about a quarter of the batter into the prepared pan and then tightly pack the pears into the pan on top of the batter. Pour the remaining batter over the pears and give the pan a few heavy taps to remove any air pockets.

7. Bake the cake until a skewer inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely before serving.

Nutrition Facts
  • 305 calories

  • 11g fat

  • 50g carbs

  • 4g protein

  • 16g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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erin jeanne mcdowell

Freelance Food Editor

Erin Jeanne McDowell is a recipe developer, food stylist and author of multiple cookbooks, including The Fearless Baker, which was named one of the Best Baking Books of 2017 by...