Before pear season leaves us, make a point to whip up this Pear-Pecan Cake with Spiked Caramel Sauce. This gluten and dairy free cake is not fussy at all to make, which means it’s the perfect dessert for a cozy night in, whether you’re entertaining or just want a really good dessert to share with your family!
Growing up, my mom would often make this apple cake when we’d have people over, and it was the perfect comfort food dessert.
She would usually serve it warm and it had this great vanilla flavored sauce served on top. I loved this cake (and still do!).
When I created this Pear-Pecan Cake with Spiked Caramel Sauce, I had that apple cake in my mind. I wanted to create something equally as comforting, and it had to have a great sauce to serve on top.
Can I use other nuts in this Pear-Pecan Cake with Spiked Caramel Sauce?
Absolutely! Almonds, walnuts or even pistachio nuts would taste great in this cake in place of the pecans. Just make sure you’re using raw nuts that aren’t already roasted and that aren’t salted.
Do I have to add alcohol to the Spiked Caramel Sauce?
The bourbon in the Spiked Caramel Sauce finishes the sauce off in a really fun way and adds complexity to the overall flavor, but if you don’t want to add the alcohol, you can use orange juice instead.
I also gave a couple of other alcohol options to the bourbon if you don’t care for bourbon. One of the options is Liqor 43, which is a liqueur made in Spain. It’s one of my favorite liqueurs to use in baking, because of the unique flavor it has. Give it a try sometime if you’ve never tried it!
What if I Can’t Find Coconut Sugar? Can I Use a Different Sugar?
When I created the Spiked Caramel Sauce, I wanted to stay away from using brown sugar or white sugar.
While I have nothing against using these sugars from time to time, but, relatively speaking, coconut sugar is a slightly healthier option because it goes through less processing and does contain some natural occurring nutrients.
I say “relatively” because no sugar is actually healthy!
In an effort to use the same sugar in the cake and the sauce, I tried making the sauce with pure maple syrup instead of the coconut sugar, but the sauce turned out much thinner and didn’t have as rich of a flavor. So, that’s not a good option.
If you can’t find coconut sugar, then you can use a combination of regular white sugar and brown sugar in its place. Use ¼ cup white sugar and ¼ cup brown sugar instead of the coconut sugar.
Whether you make this Pear-Pecan Cake with Spiked Caramel Sauce for a cozy night in with your family or for the next time you’re entertaining guests, I know it will be a hit!
Pear-Pecan Cake with Spiked Caramel Sauce
- 1 ½ cups pecan halves
- 1 ¼ cups gluten free dry old fashioned rolled oats
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons regular olive oil or melted refined coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 cup coarsely shredded peeled ripe pear (1 large)
Spiked Caramel Sauce
- ¼ cup refined coconut oil
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 egg yolk
- Dash coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon bourbon, Licor 43, Grand Marnier or 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pecan halves, toasted (optional)
- Powdered sugar (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large shallow baking pan (such as a 15x10x1-inch pan) combine pecans and oats. Spread to an even layer. Bake, uncovered, for 8 minutes or until oats and pecans are lightly toasted, stirring once halfway through baking. Cool about 10 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 350°F.
- Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour a 9-inch round (with 1 ½ inch tall sides) cake pan (I use refined coconut oil and cassava flour or rice flour for this).* Set pan aside.
- In a blender combine eggs, syrup, oil, and vanilla. Cover; blend until well combined. Add oats and pecans, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Cover; blend until oats and pecans are nearly smooth and everything is well combined.
- Stir in shredded pear. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading top to an even layer.
- Bake in the 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from the pan. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or completely cooled.
- In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat. Whisk in sugar and water. Whisk in egg yolk and salt. Return to medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, for 4 to 6 minutes or until sauce is just boiling. Remove from the heat. Stir in bourbon and vanilla. Transfer to a serving bowl; cool about 10 minutes before serving. Serve sauce warm.
- If desired, top the cake with pecan halves and sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.