fall recipes loaf cakes winter recipes

cardamom pear loaf cake

a perfectly moist cardamom loaf cake filled with sweet pears. topped with a crunchy ginger spiced streusel and vanilla bean glaze. this simple loaf cake is packed with peak fall and winter flavor. enjoy as a decadent breakfast treat or as the perfect simple dessert to end any special meal.

its mid November at the end of a most unusual, heavy year. I find myself at a loss for words in regards to this year. which means, my emotions are channeled into baking. many of my posts of recent weeks have expressed as much. baking has always been what ive turned to in stressful times- a therapeutic exercise. the overriding theme of all these recent recipes has been comfort. seeking comfort in predicability and in creation. it’s a time honored tradition and one I am very humbled to share with you. it is such a beautiful thing to know you’re baking a recipe of mine. so, thank you for inviting me into your homes and into your kitchens. I hope this cardamom pear loaf cake brings as much joy to you as it has to me. –megs

cardamom pear loaf cake

loaf cakes really are the best

hear me out. they are cakes that are designed to be eaten for every meal of the day. no need for a big celebration for cake. loaf cakes are the warm hug we all need right now. that’s what this cake reminds of, warm hug. plus there’s just something about cake that makes the day just a little brighter. this cardamom pear loaf cake is:

  • moist and fluffy
  • tender crumb
  • sweet and floral
  • bright
  • vanilla scented
  • crunchy crumble topping
  • impossible to stop at one slice!! (I speak from experience)
cardamom pear loaf cake

add these ingredients to your next grocery order:

  • cake flour
  • all purpose flour
  • ground cardamom
  • ground cinnamon
  • baking soda
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • light brown sugar
  • granulated sugar
  • eggs
  • buttermilk (or milk + lemon juice)
  • vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • pears
  • crystalized ginger
  • unsalted butter
  • pure maple syrup

my best tips and tricks for the perfect loaf cake:

substitutions for this recipe:
  • buttermilk: we don’t all have buttermilk in our fridges. an easy sub is to mix an acid, like lemon juice with the milk. allow it to curdle for about 10 minutes
    • for this recipe, combine 1/3 c milk with 1 tsp lemon juice
  • cake flour: this flour has a lower protein content and produces a crumb similar to cake. hence the name! an easy way to DIY this flour is to combine all purpose flour and cornstarch.
    • for this recipe, measure out 1 1 /4 c all purpose flour. scoop out 2 tbsp + 1 tsp flour. replace the flour with 2 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch. sift this new blend 4 times to fully incorporate the cornstarch into the flour. you now have a close approximation of cake flour!
  • pears: this is a big one to sub out. but, if you can’t find any pears or simply don’t like them, apples work well
  • crystallized ginger: best advice is to leave this out if you can’t find it or don’t want to use it
  • vanilla bean paste: tastes exactly the same as vanilla extract
  • sugars: honestly, I think any good baking sugars will work here. if you’re into alternative sugars, make sure you like baking with it before using in this recipe. otherwise, feel free to sub 1:1 based on the type of sugar
  • olive oil: use a light fruity one for this. other possible oils would be canola, avocado or grape seed
cardamom pear loaf cake
tips for the best loaf:
  • use a metal baking pan if possible
    • baking times and overall outcome of the cake depends on the type of pan used
    • this a a great article for learning more about baking pans
  • line the bottom (and long sides) with parchment paper
  • bring all cold ingredients to room temperature
  • fully preheat the oven (most need about 30 minutes)
  • don’t over mix the batter
  • grate the pears on the side of the box grater for “fine shredded cheese”
  • use fresh baking soda and baking powder
    • if its older than 3-6 months, time to get a new batch
  • this recipe does really well when mixed by hand. put those arm muscles to use!
cardamom pear loaf cake
cardamom pear loaf cake

love loaf cakes? check out my faves:

cardamom pear loaf cake

cardamom pear loaf cake

a perfectly moist cardamom loaf cake filled with sweet pears. topped with a crunchy ginger spiced streusel and maple vanilla bean glaze. this simple loaf cake is packed with peak fall and winter flavor. enjoy as a decadent breakfast treat or as the perfect simple dessert to end any special meal.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Cooling Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins
Course Breakfast, brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American


  • mixing bowl
  • whisk, wooden spoon and/or spatula
  • 9X5 loaf metal loaf pan
  • parchement paper


spiced strusel topping

  • 1/2 c (60g) all purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp (56g) cold unsalted butter, evenly cubed into small pieces
  • 1/4 c (50g) light brown or maple sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 c (30g) crystalized ginger, evenly chopped into small pieces, optional

cardamon pear loaf cake

  • 1 1/3- 1 1/2 c finely shredded pears (about 1-2 pears, depending on the size)
  • 1 1/4 c (150g) cake flour sub all purpose or see notes
  • 3/4 c (90g) all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c (100ml) olive oil or other neutral baking oil
  • 1/2 c (100g) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 c buttermilk see notes
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste sub with vanilla extract

maple vanilla bean glaze

  • 1 c (120g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4 tbsp (56g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste sub vanilla extract or omit
  • 4 tbsp pure maple syrup, to desired consistency


  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9X5 loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving 1-2" excess along the longer sides of the pan. This helps with removeal once the loaf has baked. Set aside.
    If making your own buttermilk, add 1 tsp lemon juice to the 1/3 c whole milk now. It needs about 10 minutes to curdle.
    Shred pears into a small bowl using a box grater. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients for the streusel topping in a small mixing bowl. If adding the crystalized ginger, add that next. This ingredient is totally optional and mostly for a flavor boost. Work in the cubes of butter until the mixture comes together. The mixture should resemble coarse pieces of sand, with some larger pieces mixed in. Set the bowl inthe fridge to chill while preparing the loaf cake.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground cardamom, ground cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  • Using a whisk (by hand) or electric mixer with beaters or paddle attachment, beat together the oil and both sugars until smooth and well combined.
    Add eggs and vanilla bean paste (or extract), beating each one for about 20 seconds before adding the next.
  • Stir in the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the wet, alternating in this order: dry, buttermilk, dry, buttermilk, dry. Leave a few flour or milk streaks before adding the next .
    Gently fold shredded pears into the batter. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Smooth the top of the batter.
    Top the batter with the chilled streusel topping. Feel free to clump pieces together for larger crumbles or scatter smaller pieces over the top of the batter. Gently press the struesel into the cake batter.
  • Bake at 350 F for 50-60 minutes. Around 40 minutes, do the first check of the cake. Check to make sure the struesel isn't burning. If the top is browning too much, place a tent foil over the top for the remainder of the time.
    Bake an additional 10 minutes before checking for doneness. The edges of the cake will have pulled slighly from the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
    If the toothpick comes out wet or "gummy," the cake will most likely need an addtional 10-20 minutes from that point. Check every 5-10 until done.
  • Remove the loaf cake from the oven to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes. Within the first 10 minutes of the cake cooling, make the glaze.
    To make the glaze, mix together the butter, sugar, vanilla bean paste and 2-3 tbsp maple syrup. Add 1 tsp more syrup at a time until desired consistency is reached.
    Pour the glaze on top of the loaf cake while in the pan. This keeps the crumbles "pasted" together. Once the cake has cooled 15-20 total minutes in the pan (and about 10-15 minutes with the glaze on top), gently loosen the unlined edges with a butter knife. Using the parchment overhang, remove the cake from the pan. Cool the glazed cake an additional 30-45 minutes on the cooling rack. Slice and enjoy!


cake flour: to make your own DIY cake flour, measure out 1 1 /4 c all purpose flour. scoop out 2 tbsp + 1 tsp flour. add back in 2 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch. sift together 3-4 times. 
buttermilk: to make your own DIY buttermilk, measure out 1/3 c milk. add in 1 tsp lemon juice. mix together. let sit for 10 minutes to curdle.
Keyword easy holiday cake, ginger struesel, pear cake, spiced pears, spiced quick bread
did you make this recipe?tag @olivesnthyme on Instagram

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  1. This cake is delicious! It was a pleasure to bake it. The delicate flavor, the textures… everything perfect! My house was scented for hours. Thank you very much Megan for sharing the recipe with us. Best regards from Lisboa!

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