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Inside view of a pear crisp cake.
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5 from 3 votes

Pear Crisp Cake

Pear spice cake layers, pear compote, cinnamon oat crumble, and vanilla bean buttercream.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake
Keyword: Advanced, pear, pear cake, pear crisp cake, spice cake, vanilla bean buttercream, Vanilla Buttercream
Servings: 20



  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons (37.5 g) brown sugar, packed
  • 6 large pears, peeled and diced (about 900 g)
  • 1 teaspoon (2.1 g) cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.1 g) nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.1 g) cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.1 g) all-spice


  • 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (4.4 g) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.1 g) nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (21 g) baking powder, (yes that's correct - tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110 g) brown sugar
  • 1 cup (224 g) vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (230 g) pear sauce, recipe above
  • 1 cup (248 g) apple cider or juice, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp (5.6 g) vanilla extract


  • 3/4 cup (67 g) old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons (42.4 g) unsalted butter, slightly cold and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.1 g) cinnamon


  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, slightly cold
  • 6 cups (750 g) powdered sugar measured then sifted
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon (13 g) vanilla bean paste
  • generous pinch of sale



  • In a saucepan, over medium heat, cook the butter until it starts to brown and you see some brown specs.
  • Add the brown sugar and stir until mixed into the butter.
  • Add the pears and spices. Cook until the pears soften.
  • Remove one cup (about 226 grams) of the compote to use BETWEEN the cake layers. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • With the remaining compote, puree in a food process or blender. You will use this pear sauce IN the cake. Let cool to room temperature.


  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, and oil. Mix on medium-high speed for about one to two minutes.
  • Add the eggs to the sugar mixture and mix on medium speed for about two minutes. The mixture should be smooth, without any clumps.
  • Add the pear sauce and vanilla. Mix to combine.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the apple cider. Continue alternating the flour mixture and the apple cider, finishing with the flour mixture. Mix until no streaks of flour remain. The batter will be slightly thin, not thick.
  • Divide the batter between the three cake pans (about 17 ounces in each). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.
  • Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 15 minutes before inverting them onto a wire rack to cool completely.


  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon and salt. Mix by hand with a wooden spoon until the mixture resembles clumps of sand. Spread the crumble over the parchment paper and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. The crumble should be golden brown. Let it cool completely and then crumble the mixture into smaller pieces, if needed.


  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about a one to two minutes.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar, followed by the heavy whipping cream, vanilla bean paste, and salt.
  • Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for 3 to 5 minutes, making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  • Before frosting your cake, mix the buttercream by hand with a spatula or large spoon to push out the air pockets.


  • Place the first cake layer, top side up, in the center of a cake board or a cake stand.
  • Spead about 1/2 cup of buttercream over the cake layer. Pipe a rim of buttercream around the edge of the cake.
  • Evenly spread half of the pear compote over the vanilla butter.
  • Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of the crumble over the compote. Gently pat into place.
  • Repeat these steps for the next cake layer.
  • Place the final cake layer, top side up, on the second layer of fillings.
  • Apply a thin coat of buttercream over the cake. This is the crumb coat. You'll then freeze the cake for 15 minutes to set the crumb coat and lock in the crumbs.
  • After the crumb coat is set, finish frosting the cake with the remaining buttercream.