Vanilla Pear Tea Cake with a Hint of Bourbon

Pear Vanilla Bourbon Tea Cake

Pear Vanilla Bourbon Tea Cake process

I’ve been eyeing The Vanilla Bean Blog’s “an everyday pear cake” recipe for a while and finally had (made up?) a reason try it out: hosting game night! It ended up being a great dessert later in the evening when we were all settling down. Everyone agreed it went perfectly with cup of tea – something black with milk and honey is normally my go-to. Before you comment on how rowdy a group we are, keep in mind this was a Sunday night!

I’ve played around with some of the ingredients and changed the process to my liking. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear what you serve it with! A dollop of whipped cream, a spread of clotted cream, a light dusting of confectioners sugar, a drizzle of caramel sauce? The options are as great as your imagination

Vanilla Pear Tea Cake with a Hint of Bourbon

Recipe adapted from The Vanilla Bean Blog

Yield: one single-layer 9″ round cake


I recommend using a springform pan. You could likely get away with an 8” springform pan, however you’d need to watch the baking time closer as it may take a bit longer to bake.

I lined my pan with a circle of parchment paper at the bottom for easier removal of the cake – worked like a dream! Simply trace a circle from the narrowest part of the bottom of the springform pan (be sure to remove the bottom for this step) and cut it out.

If you don’t have buttermilk, add about ½ Tbsp white vinegar to the milk and let it stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes. I normally place it on the oven as it preheats to speed the process up!



  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt


  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature (about .37 cups or 85g)
  • 1 scant cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ Tbsp bourbon or whiskey (optional; go for the full Tbsp for a bigger kick)
  • 1 or 2 large pears, peeled and sliced roughly 1/8″ thick (I used Bartlett pears but get creative!)


  • 2 Tbsp sugar [note: I decided to use half granulated white sugar and half raw sugar here, although any sugar will work!]
  • 2 tsp cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a 9” springform cake pan and line with parchment circle.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together dry ingredients.
  4. In a small bowl or pyrex liquid measuring cup, lightly mix the buttermilk, vanilla extract, and bourbon (if using) together.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter on medium-high until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the sugar to the butter and continue to mix on medium high for about another 2 minutes.
  7. Add the egg to the sugar/butter mixture, and mix on medium until well combined.
  8. Add in half of the flour mixture and mix on medium until just combined.
  9. Add the milk, vanilla, bourbon mixture and mix on low/medium until just combined.
  10. Add the remaining half of the flour mixture and mix on medium until just combined.
  11. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and, if needed, spread it into an even layer (it will likely be quite thick).
  12. Arrange pear slices over the batter – make sure you try and cover up all exposed batter! You can be generous with the slices – I did a modest, single layer and would recommend putting on a bit more. Be sure to press the slices into the batter so they’re set.
  13. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly on top of all the pear slices.
  14. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes.
  15. At the 10 minute mark, reduce heat to 325°F and continue baking for another 45-55 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. This took roughly 50 minutes after the first 10 for my cake.
  16. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then remove and place on cooling rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Pear Bourbon Tea Cake baked

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