The Perfect, Simple Holiday Cake: Ginger Pear Cake

Ginger Pear Cake – Tender and moist ginger honey cake layers with pear buttercream and pear jam.

Ginger Pear Cake

My new Ginger Pear Cake is going to be a new holiday favorite. I’m sure of it! These cake layers are so flavorful and so moist, but you may notice they’re slightly dense. That’s not a bad thing in this case!

Top these layers with a pear cream cheese buttercream, and you won’t be able to put your fork down!

Ginger Honey Cake

For the cake layers, I took inspiration from two of my cakes: Gingerbread Cake and Honey Pear Upside Down Cake.

Ingredients You’ll Need for The Cake

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground ginger
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter
  • Buttermilk
  • Molasses
  • Brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Eggs

How to Make Moist Cake From Scratch

Remember, to make cake layers that rise and bake with a moist texture, follow these simple steps:

  • Bake at 325 degrees F.
  • Preheat your oven for 30 minutes
  • Use good pans like Fat Daddio
  • Use room temperature ingredients
  • When you’re mixing butter, sugar, and eggs, turn your mixer to medium-high and beat for a few minutes to create a light and fluffy texture
  • Turn the mixer to low when you add the dry ingredients
  • Don’t over-bake your cake layers

Pear Cream Cheese Buttercream

For the pear cream cheese buttercream, you’ll want to make homemade pear jam (recipe below), so plan ahead. The jam needs to be made a day or two ahead of time. The buttercream is then made up of butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, heavy cream and the jam.

The Most Delicious Pear Jam Recipe

The following recipe is a special one because it comes from a good friend of mine, Heather Thomas from That Bread Lady. Heather is a master at all things bread and on a recent visit to Salt Lake, gifted me her homemade pear jam. I was blown away by the flavor. It’s so delicious.

As I was working on this cake, I grabbed one of the jars Heather gave me and threw some of the pear jam into the buttercream. It was an instant hit! Thankfully, Heather shared the recipe with us, and showed us how to make it in an IG Live.

Good news: you can still see that demo on my Instagram.

I’ve included both recipe options Heather shared – one with Sure-Jell and the other with Pomona Pectin. The later option is what Heather showed us in the live and is SO easy to make.

I’d definitely recommend getting that pectin and making your jam a day or two before making the cake.

Cinnamon Pear Jam with Sure-Jell by Marilyn Halls (That Bread Lady’s mom)

Yields 8 – half pint jams

  • 5 cups mashed ripe pears
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered fruit pectin (like Sure-Jell)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 7 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Directions:

  • Wash jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with
    water, bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover, and keep jars in hot canner
    water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small saucepan; cover and
    heat to a low boil. Turn off heat and keep lids in hot water until ready to
    use.
  • Peel and chop pears into large chunks. Blend them in a blender or food
    processor until they are a chunky puree texture. You don’t want a complete
    puree – small pear chunks are yummy!
  • Measure fruit into saucepan.
  • Add fruit pectin, cinnamon, cloves, allspice nutmeg, lemon juice, and mix
    well.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add sugar all at once, stirring constantly
    and bring back to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute. Mix in butter to relax
    the foam.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Fill hot jars to ¼” of top. Wipe rims clean. Screw on 2-piece lids. Put filled
    jars in boiling water to cover. Boil 10 minutes (add 1 minute more for every
    1,000 ft. above sea level). Remove from water. Let jars cool. Check seals;
    lids should be sucked down. Eat within 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.
    Lasts 3 weeks once opened.

Notes: You can make this as freezer jam. All of the ingredients in the recipe stay
the same, but you get to skip the water-bath canning process. Follow the
recipe and place your cooked jam into the jars. Allow them to come to
room temperature, put on the lids and place them in the freezer for up to 1
year. Refrigerate after thawing. Store refrigerated up to three weeks.

Cinnamon Pear Jam with Pomona Pectin by Marilyn Halls
  • Yields 5-6 half pint jams
  • 4 cups mashed ripe pears
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 ½ teaspoon Pomona’s pectin
  • 4 teaspoons calcium water
  • 2 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg


Directions for using Pomona’s pectin: (the directions are based off of
pomonapectin.com, but this is my mom’s jam recipe)

  1. Before you begin, prepare calcium water.
    i. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small
    packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a
    small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well.
    ii. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator
    for future use.
  2. Wash jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with
    water, bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover, and keep jars in hot canner
    water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small saucepan; cover and
    heat to a low boil. Turn off heat and keep lids in hot water until ready to
    use.
  3. Peel and chop pears into large chunks. Blend them in a blender or food
    processor until they are a chunky puree texture. You don’t want a complete
    puree – small pear chunks are yummy!
  4. Measure fruit into saucepan.
  5. Add calcium water, lemon juice, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg and
    mix well.
  6. Measure sugar into a bowl. Thoroughly mix pectin powder into the sugar.
    Set aside.
  7. Bring fruit mixture to a full boil. Add pectin-sugar mixture, stirring
    vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin while the jam comes
    back up to a boil. Once the jam returns to a full boil, remove it from the
    heat.
  8. Fill hot jars to ¼” of top. Wipe rims clean. Screw on 2-piece lids. Put filled
    jars in boiling water to cover. Boil 10 minutes (add 1 minute more for every
    1,000 ft. above sea level). Remove from water. Let jars cool. Check seals;
    lids should be sucked down. Eat within 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.
    Lasts 3 weeks once opened.
    Notes:
     You can make this as freezer jam. All of the ingredients in the recipe stay
    the same, but you get to skip the water-bath canning process. Follow the
    recipe and place your cooked jam into the jars. Allow them to come to
    room temperature, put on the lids and place them in the freezer for up to 1
    year. Refrigerate after thawing. Store refrigerated up to three weeks.

Ginger Pear Cake

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Ginger honey cake layers with pear buttercream and pear jam 

Ingredients
 

FOR THE CAKE

  • 3 1/4 cups (390 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (5.3 g) ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoons (2.1 g) cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (9 g) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking soda
  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup (220 g) brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 g) buttermilk room temperature

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter slightly cold
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 6 cups (750 g) powdered sugar measured then sifted
  • 1/2 cup pear jam recipe above in post
  • 3 tablespoons (43.3 g) heavy whipping cream
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • *This buttercream is on the softer side and less stable than my typical buttercream recipes. I don't recommend piping with this recipe.

Instructions
 

FOR THE CAKE

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch or four 6-inch pans with nonstick spray, line the bottoms with parchment and spray again. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
  • Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add in the brown sugar and cream together on medium speed for another minute.
  • On medium-low, gradually add in the eggs, molasses and honey. Beat on medium-high for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  • With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  • Once mixed, evenly divide all of the batter into the prepared pans (about 16 ounces in each 8-inch pan or 12 ounces in each 6-inch pan).
  • Bake 25 to 30 minutes, checking around 25 minutes. When you insert a toothpick into the center of the cake, a few moist crumbs should come out on it. Remember, the cake continues to bake for 5 minutes as it cools in the pans. 

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter and cream cheese on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • On low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar, heavy cream, and jam. Once the everything is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and beat for another 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • Remember to mix the frosting by hand with a wooden spoon or large spatula to push out the air to create a silky-smooth frosting.
  • With the cream cheese, this buttercream is a little "sticky." I like to do a "rustic" look with my buttercream when decorating it.

ASSEMBLY

  • Place the first cake layer on a cake board or cake stand. Spread about 1 cup of the frosting evenly over the cake layer. OPTIONAL: spread additional pear jam on top of the buttercream. Repeat for the second layer.
  • Apply a thin coat of frosting around the entire cake to lock in the crumbs. This coat of frosting does not need to look pretty, it’s simply to lock in the crumbs so they don’t get into the final coat of frosting. Freeze the cake for 10 minutes. 
  • After the crumb coat is set, continue to frost and decorate the cake with the remaining buttercream.
Cuisine Cake
Course Dessert
Keyword Ginger, Ginger cake, honey, pear, Pear Buttercream

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

Get my free cake decorating guide
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