Poached Pear & Cranberry Cake

Our contributor, Tessa Huff, is back with a new cake recipe perfect for the holidays….

I have a love-hate relationship with pears.  When they are ripe, they are the most beautiful, juicy, and flavorful treats.  Any other time, they fall completely flat.  For this recipes, I decided to put our differences aside, and give some TLC to some pears.

Poached Pear & Cranberry Cake | by Tessa Huff | TheCakeBlog.com

When it comes to the dessert menu, I hardly ever understood why anyone would ever chose a poached pear or cheese plate over decadent cheesecake or gooey chocolate cake.  While I still don’t know why cheese finds its place among these sweet treats, I think I finally understand the beauty of a poached pear.  Taking the time to basically make a sweet, cinnamon-y jacuzzi for your pears definitely pays off.  Poaching pears definitely alleviates some of that heartache when they are not perfectly ripe.  The pears become sweet, tender, and can be infused with whatever flavor you’d like.  Plus, it will leave your kitchen smelling absolutely amazing!

Poached Pear & Cranberry Cake | by Tessa Huff | TheCakeBlog.com

Although you might be tempted to eat the poached pears right out of the pot, pairing them with cranberries in this layer cake makes for the perfect fall treat.  The sweet tang of fresh cranberries is brilliant in a stacked layer cake.  The added cinnamon and cardamon create warmth in every bite.  If you don’t know about mascarpone, you will be in for a big surprise.  Think of this frosting as cream cheese icing’s more elegant, older sister.  And trust me, this Pear-Cranberry Cake calls for nothing less.

Poached Pear & Cranberry Cake | by Tessa Huff | TheCakeBlog.com

Poached Pear & Cranberry Cake | by Tessa Huff | TheCakeBlog.com

a recipe by Tessa Huff

For the Poached Pears:

3 fresh pears
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks

  1. Place 1 cup sugar and 4 cups water with the cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, peal the pears.
  3. Once the liquid reaches a boil, add the pears and turn heat to medium-low.
  4. Simmer pears about 10-15 minutes, or until soft.
  5. Remove from poaching liquid, core, and chop.
  6. Reserve 1/4 cup of the poaching liquid.


For the Pear & Cranberry Cake:

3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon clove
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or canola)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

  1. Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, oil, and both sugars.  Mix about 5 minutes on medium-high.
  3. With the mixer on low, add in the eggs one at a time.  Scrape down the bowl.
  4. With the mixer on low, carefully alternate in the dry ingredients and poaching liquid in two batches.
  5. Fold in the chopped pears and cranberries.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  7. Bake at 350 until centers are done (about 24 minutes for 4 X 6inch pans).


For the Mascarpone Frosting:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup mascarpone, softened
5 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest

  1. Cream the butter and mascarpone with an electric mixer.
  2. Carefully add in the remaining ingredients and mix until light and creamy.

To Assemble Cake:
Stack cake layers alternating with the mascarpone frosting.

Poached Pear & Cranberry Cake | by Tessa Huff | TheCakeBlog.com



Now try my Gingerbread Latte Cake.
Six layers of gingerbread cake with espresso buttercream and toffee bits.

Gingerbread Latte Cake | Tessa Huff for TheCakeBlog.com



And you don’t want to miss my Banana Choco Hazelnut Cake!

Banana Chocolate Hazelnut Cake | Recipe by Tessa Huff for TheCakeBlog.com



And you’ll love my Raspberry Blood Orange Cake!

sh raspberries and a blood orange glaze | Raspberry & Blood Orange Cake| Recipe by Tessa Huff for TheCakeBlog.com


Tessa Huff is a professional cake designer and lover of all things art and design. She particularly enjoys creating edible decorations, sugar flowers, and unique flavor pairings with fresh, seasonal flavors. Read more about Tessa on her bio page.


  1. 2


    Beautiful cake! Poached pears has always been one of my favorite fall desserts and I can imagine they go magically in this cake with cranberries and mascarpone frosting.

  2. 4

    Monica says

    What a delightful cake! I’m going to make this for my birthday brunch. My guests may not leave after they get a taste of this!

  3. 7


    I am a cooker, not a baker and i am attempting this recipe tonight… I hope mine turns out as pretty as yours and tastes good too! I will post the results on my blog for viewers. I want to let moms know we can just follow a recipe we don;t have to be chef!

  4. 10

    linda says

    Hello, your cakes are gorgeous… what size pans do you use with the pear/cranberry cake? and is there a way to increase the hazelnut cake for a 9 inch pan to serve more people? Thanks for your assistance!


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