Serves a Crowd

Pear and Cranberry Cake

September 11, 2011
Author Notes

This is a family recipe, no denying it. It was my Aunt Martha’s creation, but quickly became a holiday staple in my house as well. I distinctly remember eating this cake as part of our Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, and then again the next morning for breakfast; a huge treat for my sisters and I. Now I make it too, because it is mixed and in the oven in under fifteen minutes, and because it makes my kitchen smell divine. The flecks of mild, sweet pear and bites of sour cranberry are little gems, lending this moist, citrus-spiked cake a distinctive holiday look and taste. —Cristina Sciarra

Test Kitchen Notes

Cristinasciarra shares her aunt's luscious cake recipe which she adapts here with pears. This cake is a snap to put together, there's a tantalizing aroma while it bakes, and it's very gratifying with that first bite. The tart pop of the fresh cranberries with the bright citrus notes in a perfectly moist rag-cake texture is simply divine. You could add a tiny pinch of salt, if you like. This is also a very forgiving recipe, if you happen to forget the wheat germ: it will still be lovely. I made this both ways. Thanks, cristinasciarra for sharing this gem! —Sagegreen

  • Makes 1 bundt cake
  • 2 cups sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries (if frozen, do not defrost)
  • 2 very ripe pears, peeled and partly mashed (if unripe, cook them with ½ tablespoon butter, ½ tablespoon sugar and ½ tablespoon fruit brandy until soft)
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, zest and eggs.
  3. Mix in orange juice. Pour in melted butter, while whisking vigorously, so the butter does not coagulate.
  4. Stir in flour, one cup at a time. Add wheat germ and baking soda, and incorporate.
  5. When the batter is mixed smoothly, add (slightly mashed) pears and cranberries, and integrate.
  6. Pour batter into a well-buttered bundt pan.
  7. Bake for one hour, or until a knife comes out clean.

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Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at