roasted pear and walnut spice cake bundt #bundtbakers

Whoa. I just realized that I haven’t baked a bundt cake since April.

roasted pear and walnut spice cake bundt | Brooklyn Homemaker

This has been one hell of a year, both personally with the Maxwell’s build out and opening, and for the country as a whole. This election cycle really has consumed me, chewed me up and spit me out, and just when I thought it would all finally be over, it seems like we’re in for even more struggle and strife.

While things may feel a little disheartening right now, life must go on, and getting back into the kitchen and revving up the ol’ stand mixer certainly helps me feel centered and whole again.

roasted pear and walnut spice cake bundt | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’m so so thrilled that Lauren from Sew You Think You Can Cook chose pears as our inspiration for the #bundtbakers this month. Thank you so much Lauren! Not only do I absolutely love pears on their own, there’s also something especially cozy and satisfying about baking with fall fruit pear-ed (har har) with warm homey spices.

With Thanksgiving only a week away, a pear bundt cake is just what the doctor ordered.

roasted pear and walnut spice cake bundt | Brooklyn Homemaker

I have a confession to make though.
I haven’t always liked pears.

My grandfather has always had several fruit and nut trees on his property, and when I was little I thought pears were absolutely disgusting. I don’t know if it was the grainy texture, or the thick sandy skin, or what, but to be perfectly honest I didn’t care for a lot of the bounty of grandpa’s garden.

I was truly a child of the 80’s, and a lot of my culinary influence during my formative years came from spending time in my grandmother’s kitchen. She is a product of her generation, and Grandma’s food philosophy came from the atomic-age desire for shiny, new, packaged convenience foods rather than the back-to-earth approach many of us prefer today. As a kid in Grandma’s kitchen, packaged food was celophane-wrapped, sterilized heaven to me, and I couldn’t get enough of it. Give me a box of doughnuts, a bag of chips, a can of soup, a bottle of soda, and a grilled cheese sandwich made with plastic-wrapped processed “cheese food”, bagged sliced white bread, and margarine from a tub.
Who wants to have to pick and wash fresh fruits and vegetables from outside with all the dirt and bees and bugs, when the fridge is stocked with Cool Whip and Velveeta that’s clean and delicious and ready to eat?

roasted pear and walnut spice cake bundt | Brooklyn Homemaker

Not me.
That’s who.

I did like Grandpa’s strawberries and plums, but even the strawberries had to be scrubbed and sliced and covered in sugar before I deemed them edible.

roasted pear and walnut spice cake bundt | Brooklyn Homemaker

Obviously my tastes have changed over the years, and as an adult I’ll take a ripe juicy pear, still warm from the sun, over a tub of chemically Cool Whip any day of the week.

As a kid, trips to my grandparents house filled me with excitement because I knew the cupboards were bursting with store-bought chips and cookies and doughnuts. These days I still get excited when I get to visit my grandparents, but now it’s because I know grandpa will load me up with sagging grocery bags filled with dirty bell peppers, lopsided butternut squash, fuzzy warm peaches, or sun-ripened tomatoes when I get ready to leave.

roasted pear and walnut spice cake bundt | Brooklyn Homemaker

When I was planning my bundt for this month, I knew that I really wanted the pears to be the stars of the show. My first instinct was to chop or cube or grate them just like apples into a traditional spice cake for flavor and added moisture, but somehow that didn’t seem like it was “enough”. My pears deserved better than playing second fiddle to cinnamon.

Determined to leave the pears whole (or at least halved) inside the cake, I decided to poach them in a bourbon ginger syrup. They smelled like heaven in the poaching liquid and I couldn’t help myself from sneaking spoonfuls of batter from the pan before it went into the oven. I was congratulating myself on a job well done before the cake even started to rise, and I couldn’t wait to get it out of the oven and see the autumnal perfection I’d come up with.


It was an absolute disaster.

The pears soaked up too much moisture in the poaching liquid, releasing it back into the cake to create a jiggly bundt with the weirdest almost blubbery texture I’ve ever had the misfortune to put in my mouth. As the cake cooled it sagged and the cake separated from the pears and slumped into a wobbly mess on the plate.

So, back to the drawing board. I knew I’d need a thicker, denser batter, and I obviously needed to find a way to pull moisture out of the pears before baking them into the cake. With poaching out of the question, I decided to try dry roasting the pears so they’d be tender but slightly dried out before going into the batter. Thankfully, it worked out beautifully and I think the pears are almost as happy about it as I am.

roasted pear and walnut spice cake bundt | Brooklyn Homemaker

You’ll want to use the smallest pears you can find for this recipe, because if they’re too big or tall they’ll take up too much room in the pan. They might cause the batter to run over in the oven, or could stick out the top of the cake and cause it to sit unevenly when plated. I also think that Bosc pears are the only variety firm and sturdy enough to stand up to being roasted, handled, and baked in this way without turning to mush or falling apart.

The bit of extra effort in roasting the pears and toasting the walnuts really pays off when you slice down into the cake to reveal a perfect cross-section of a whole pear (depending on where you slice).
And the flavor? Fuggitaboudit. Warm spices, tender roasted pears, crunchy toasted walnuts, buttery tender brown sugar spice cake, and a thick and tangy cream cheese glaze.
I mean. Come on.

This is basically THE perfect fall cake, and it would make an excellent addition to your Thanksgiving spread to boot. If you’re looking for even more fall inspiration and pear-y wonderfulness, make sure you scroll down past the recipe to see what the other #bundtbakers came up with this month!

roasted pear and walnut spice cake bundt | Brooklyn Homemaker

Roasted Pear and Walnut Spice Cake

  • Servings: 8 to 12-ish
  • Print
4 to 5 small firm Bosc pears, depending on the size of your pan
1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts
2 1/4 cups all-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoons cardamom (optional)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs

Cream Cheese Glaze:
4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour a 10 to 12 cup bundt pan, refrigerate.

Peel pears, slice in half, and scoop out seeds with a melon baller or spoon. Place cut side up on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake 15 minutes more. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Spread walnuts in an even layer on a small baking sheet and toast for 5 to 8 minutes, or until they smell toasty. Do not let them burn. Set aside to cool. Reserve 1/4 cup for topping the cake.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, & spices together in a bowl. Set aside. Mix vanilla into buttermilk and set aside.
In a the bowl of and electric mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute or two and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl between additions.
Alternate additions of flour and buttermilk, mixing on low just until combined, and scraping the bowl between each addition. Start and end with flour so there are 3 additions of flour and 2 of buttermilk. Stir in 1 cup walnuts until evenly distributed.

Pour about 3/4 of the batter into the prepared pan, and tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles. Push pear halves into the batter, top side facing down into the bottom of the pan, arranging them so the cut halves face each other as a whole pear. Arrange pears so they’re evenly spaced around the pan. Spread remaining batter over the top, leaving at least half an inch of room for the cake to rise so it doesn’t overflow in the oven. It’s okay if the pears stick out of the batter a bit, as the cake should rise around them. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven, and cool in the pan for 30 minutes before turning it out onto a rack to cool completely.

While the cake cools, make the glaze.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until it’s fluffy and smooth. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 4 tablespoons of milk and blend until there are no lumps. If necessary, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition until the glaze reaches the desired drizzle-able consistency. It should be about the consistency of thick melted ice cream to drizzle correctly.

Place a tray under cake and cooling rack to catch any drips. Pour glaze over cake and let the glaze work its way down the side, tapping the tray on the counter if necessary. Top with toasted walnuts.

Well covered in an airtight container, this cake should keep at room temperature about 2 days, or longer in the fridge. Just make sure to serve it at room temperature if you refrigerate it.

roasted pear and walnut spice cake bundt | Brooklyn Homemaker

The bundt bakers really outdid themselves this month, and all these perfect pear cakes have my mouth watering like crazy!

You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about #BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.

roasted cherry kugelhopf with cherry bourbon glaze #bundtbakers

You guys. Can you believe it’s already time for the July edition of #bundtbakers?
Time flies when you’re baking bundts.

roasted cherry kugelhopf with cherry bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

This month’s theme is stone fruit, and I immediately knew I wanted to do something with cherries. I also thought that it might be fun to try something a little different this time around. I was recently researching the history of the bundt cake and learned that Kugelhopf is basically the bundt cake’s great-grandpappy, so I thought it would be really interesting to play with a version this old world classic.

roasted cherry kugelhopf with cherry bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

The birth story of the bundt pan all started with some members of a Jewish women’s group called Hadassah who were looking for an alternative to expensive imported kugelhopf molds. Nowadays it’s not hard to find inexpensive metal kugelhopf pans, but they’re traditionally made in Europe from heavy, fragile terra cotta, and in the 1950s they were extremely hard to come by here in the states. Some members of the group approached a young inventor named H. David Dalquist who had recently formed a cookware company called Nordic Ware. They commissioned him to make a lighter, cheaper version of the pans they used to use in the old country. One of the ladies had a traditional mold they lent him as a prototype and he crafted a similarly shaped pan out of lightweight aluminum. Originally he called it a “Bund” pan, based on a German word that loosely translates to, “a gathering of people”. He later added the “t”, making it “bundt”, to avoid confusion with a controversial German-American social club.

roasted cherry kugelhopf with cherry bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Nordic Ware and their pans were moderately popular throughout the 50s with Hadassah members, but the bundt pan didn’t really take off and become the ubiquitous phenomenon we know them to be today until the late 1960s. In 1966 a woman from Texas won the Pillsbury Bake-Off with a recipe she called the “Tunnel of Fudge” that called for Nordic Ware’s patented pan. After that every housewife in America had to have a new bundt pan in their cupboard.

roasted cherry kugelhopf with cherry bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Being a self-proclaimed Bundt enthusiast, I found this history to be totally fascinating. It also made me really curious. I started looking into the Kugelhopf and found that depending on where you are and who you ask, it’s also known as Gugelhupf, guguluf, or kuglóf. Depending on the region, the recipe changes too. It can range from dry and bread-like, sometimes even salty or savory in some places, to fruity, dense and just barely sweet in others. Wherever you are though, this is a yeast leavened cake or loaf that’s usually studded with raisins and nuts. Since it’s not especially sweet, it’s often eaten with breakfast or as a snack, usually spread with unsalted butter.

roasted cherry kugelhopf with cherry bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

This kugelhopf though, strays pretty far from old-world heritage. I based it on a traditional Austrian/German recipe, but took a few liberties to make it fit my purpose.  I don’t really care for raisins in baking, and usually prefer to use dried cranberries or cherries in their place. In this case I decided to go for fresh cherries that I oven-roasted to concentrate their flavor. I was also hoping for something a bit more bundt-like than bread-like so I made a few changes to make the recipe just a bit sweeter and richer. I went ahead and added a splash or two of bourbon too, because, why not? Traditionally kugelhopfs are just dusted with powdered sugar, but to make sure it wouldn’t need to be spread with butter, I topped mine off with a very non-traditional cherry bourbon glaze.

roasted cherry kugelhopf with cherry bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

To ensure the kugelhopf is nice and moist, I think it benefits from a soak. For this, you could make a plain old simple syrup, or add some sort of flavoring or extract to a syrup. After roasting the cherries I was left with some of their syrupy juices and thought I’d use that for my soak along with some butter and maybe another splash of bourbon.

I also think that this recipe improves with a day’s rest.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, this was pretty damned great on the first day, but seemed to be the teeeeeniest bit dry to me. For some reason, the second day this was no longer an issue. I’m not sure if it was the cherries, the soak, or the glaze but somehow the bread-y body of this cake was borrowing moisture for some other component. The crumb seemed more moist, the flavors better developed, and the whole concept better realized on the day after baking. So, if you have the time and the foresight to make this a day ahead, do that. Just cover it tightly and hide it away somewhere at a cool room temperature.

roasted cherry kugelhopf with cherry bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

In the end all my efforts really paid off. Using oven-roasted fresh cherries in place of raisins was nothing short of genius. (That’s right, I just called myself a genius). The cherries are soft yet chewy and bursting with a bright deeply-concentrated fruity flavor, and adding bourbon while they roast adds a rich warmth and depth. Of course, if you wanted to use dried cherries instead, I think that they’d work really well too, especially if you reconstitute them in bourbon first. The roasted cherry juice and the egg yolks gives the cake a rich soft crumb, and the sliced almonds add a really nice soft bite. All these flavors in combination are so totally warm and homey with a perfect old-world feeling.

The kugelhopf itself is a bit sweeter than traditional ones, but it’s still a restrained just-barely-sweet sweetness. The texture is somehow softer than bread, but chewier and doughier than cake. It’s almost similar to the texture of a cinnamon roll, if that makes any sense.

roasted cherry kugelhopf with cherry bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Since this still remains relatively bread-y, this kugelhopf would be perfect served at a breakfast get together or a brunch. Of course, it still feels very much like dessert, so feel free to serve it as you would any other cake. No matter how or when you eat it, you’re going to want to go back in for seconds.

If you love summer produce and cherries and all kinds of stone fruit, please be sure to scroll down past the recipe and check out all the other mouthwatering stone fruit themed bundt cakes. They all look unbelievable and I wish I could have a slice of each and every one of them. Thank you so much to our hosts, Felice of All That’s Left Are The Crumbs and Stacy of Food Lust People Love, for choosing this months theme and organizing our efforts.

roasted cherry kugelhopf with cherry bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Roasted Cherry Kugelhopf with Cherry Bourbon Glaze

Adapted from David Lebovitz

Roasted Cherries
1 1/2 lb sweet cherries
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon bourbon

Preheat the oven to 400. Wash, pit and quarter your cherries. Toss the quartered cherries in the sugar, salt, and bourbon to coat. Spread evenly over a parchment lined baking sheet, and roast for 20 to 25 minutes. Toward the end, watch that the cherry juices don’t burn.
Fit a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, and scrape or pour the cherries into to the strainer. Leave the cherries in the strainer for a few minutes to allow the juices to drip and collect in the bowl. Reserve the juice and the drained cherries in separate bowls.

½ cup milk
2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast (not instant)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon bourbon
2 teaspoons reserved cherry juice
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup sliced almonds, divided
One 6- to 9-cup kugelhof pan (or you can use a bundt pan)

Make the sponge by warming the milk over low heat in a small saucepan until it’s tepid. Pour into a bowl, and mix in the yeast then the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until bubbly, about 20 minutes.

In a standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter with sugar and salt until soft and light, about 3 minutes. Mix in the orange zest, vanilla, 2 teaspoons cherry juice, and 1 teaspoon of bourbon. Next, add the egg yolks and beat until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the sponge, then beat another minute.
Add the flour and mix on low speed for 2 minutes and let rest for 10 minutes.
Beat on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes.
Slowly beat in the cherries and 1/2 cup of the almonds. Scrape the dough into a buttered bowl and turn it so the top is buttered. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 to 30 minutes.

Butter the kugelhof mold well, and the scatter another 1/2 cup of sliced almonds over the inside of the mold, turning to coat it evenly. Scrape the dough into the kugelhof mold and cover with a towel or buttered plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about an hour or maybe a bit longer.

About 15 minutes before the dough is fully risen, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the kugelhof until it’s a deep golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then unmold onto a wire rack.

Soak and Glaze:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5 tablespoons bourbon
remaining reserved cherry juice
2 cups powdered sugar, divided

To make the soak; combine butter, bourbon, & cherry juice in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and whisk to combine. Measure out 1/2 cup of the mixture for the soak and set aside. Add remaining sugar to the liquid to make the glaze, and whisk to combine. Add more sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, if you want a thicker glaze. After kugelhopf is removed to a wire rack, brush the soak all over the top and sides. Let it cool at least 30 minutes before drizzling or pouring the glaze evenly over the top. While glaze is still wet, sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of almonds over the top.

If possible, allow the kugelhopf to rest for a day, tightly covered at room temperature, before slicing and serving.

roasted cherry kugelhopf with cherry bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Check out all of these delicious sounding stone fruit based bundts. What a perfect theme to celebrate all the wonderful fresh fruit the summer has to offer.




Interested in learning more about us??  #BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the BundtBaker home page here.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com. If you are just a lover of Bundt baking, you can find all of our recipe links by clicking our badge above or on our group Pinterest board.