Make Ahead

Pear-Anise Cake

November 17, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Makes (1) 8½” x 4¼” x 2¾” loaf pan
Author Notes

I thought I’d recreate a version of classic apple loaf cake using delicious, seasonal winter pears. Returning from Goa, I brought back a ton of spices – turmeric, massive cinnamon sticks, woodsy black cardamom, and some beautiful anise seed. The anise struck me as an ideal compliment to sweet, ripened pears, AND I’ve been looking for an excuse to use that Pernod liqueur that’s been sitting on the shelf for who knows how long.

I used Bosc pears here because they hold up really well to cooking and don’t turn to complete mush. I always ripen my pears in a bag on the counter before using them to get the peak flavor because most of the ones at the farmers’ market are unripe when you get them. Also, I macerated the diced pears with Pernod and sugar before adding to the cake batter – the liquid that’s released develops beautiful flavor in the cake and adds moisture. Theoretically, you could leave out the Pernod as long as you still macerate the pears with sugar and enough liquid is released – but I’m disclaiming that I haven’t tried it that way so you’re on your own! The result is a fine crumb loaf cake that is moist, full of pear flavor, scented with licorice-anise. Enjoy!

What You'll Need
  • 3 cups peeled, cored and diced bosc pears
  • 3 tablespoons Pernod liqueur
  • 1 ¼ cups light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoons anise seed, crushed (with a mortar and pestle)
  • ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cups butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 375? F.
  2. Place diced pears in a bowl and add Pernod along with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Stir to combine and let stand to macerate for 15 minutes.
  3. In another bowl, sift together flour with salt, spices, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. In a stand mixer, cream together remaining sugar and butter. With mixer on medium-low, add vanilla and then the eggs one at a time. Turn mixer down to low, and add in the dry ingredients, stopping to scrape down the sides. Mix until almost combined. Add in the pears with any liquid that’s accumulated and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan, and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alexis Vadne Smith
    Alexis Vadne Smith
  • Sagegreen
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • mrslarkin
  • aliyaleekong
Chef, Author - Exotic Table: Flavors, Inspiration & Recipes from Around the World to Your Kitchen, Mom to a chickadee ?

8 Reviews

Alexis V. September 22, 2015
I made this anise pear loaf last week for my book club circle. One thing to note is that the recipe makes three loaves, not the one , loaf as indicated.
As I did not have pernod on hand, I used up an old bottle of Hungarian pear liqueur, which increased the pear flavour. I also simply ground the anise seed in a spice grinder, and found that the anise flavour was fairly strong w/o using the pernod. Even though I have a hot convection oven, the loaf was still almost too moist after 45 minutes, although the tester did come out clean. It did receive rave reviews along with the Earl Grey loaf and lemon pistachio loaf, which all gave us a broad choice of flavours.
Sagegreen December 3, 2011
I was looking for a cake with anise flavors; this may be perfect.
Sagegreen December 4, 2011
Enjoyed making this. The flavors of pear, pernod and anise are great together, too. Thanks!
j.palimpsest October 28, 2011
I used apples and brandy, because that's what I had on hand. I also added a Tablespoon of molasses. Delicious cake, very moist.
TheWimpyVegetarian November 17, 2010
I love this recipe! What a great combination of flavors. And I'm in luck, I also have a bottle of Pernod that I only seem to use around New Year's when I make bouillabaise. This is perfect for a potluck I'm going to tomorrow!
aliyaleekong November 17, 2010
Thanks, ChezSuzanne! Let me know how it turns out :).
mrslarkin November 17, 2010
This sounds lovely! Pear and Pernod is a fantastic combo! I think I will dust off my bottle of Pernod and try this. Thanks!!
aliyaleekong November 17, 2010
Thanks! Yes, that's what I did - I'm always trying to find uses for Pernod or else it just sits there...