Pear Gingerbread

Gingerbread is one of my pet answers to down days and autumn chill–the aroma of gingerbread baking is incense for the hungry soul, and traditional gingerbread spices, with their anti-inflammatory properties, are actually good for us. This super-easy recipe is a family favorite, and it adds yummy tender pears to the mix. What you end up with is a bit of nourishing, comforting harvest bliss on a plate, so rich you don’t need whipped cream to make it a cozy antidote to any blustery, damp day.


1 cup (2 sticks) plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Sucanat or other all-natural organic sweetener, packed (see the Care2 Directory of Natural Sweeteners)
2 Bosc pears, peeled, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
3 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

1. Place 4 tablespoons of the butter and the 1/4 cup Sucanat in a 9-inch square cake pan (flameproof) over medium heat (or you could do what I do and use a large iron skillet). Heat until the sugar melts, then add the pear slices in a decorative pattern and remove the pan or skillet from the heat.

2. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the remaining 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter and the remaining 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Sucanat until light. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the molasses.

3. In another bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Fold the dry mixture into the creamed mixture, along with the boiling water, stirring only until all the ingredients are combined. Be careful not to overmix.

4. Smooth batter evenly over the decoratively-arranged pears and bake in preheated oven around 35 to 40 minutes. Cake should feel springy to the touch when done. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then invert it (carefully!) onto a serving plate. Cut into squares (or wedges, if you used an iron skillet) and serve, with whipped cream or Greek yogurt on the side if you like.

Serves 8 to 10.

By Cait Johnson, co-author of Celebrating the Great Mother (Inner Traditions, 1995).

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra2 years ago

Thank you Cait, for Sharing this!

Jennifer J.
Jennifer J.6 years ago

1 cup = 2 gills or 4 fluid oz. 1 cup also = 240 ml
Have fun! Hopefully this helps... one year later.. lol. :)

Frederique Pieretti
Frederique P.8 years ago

I'd like to try the recipe but living in France, I don't know what 1 stick of butter corresponds to in grams. One cup is also a bit vague for me... Could someone help? Thanks a lot.

Kay R.
Kay R.8 years ago

This is a fantastic recipe and the flavour!!!!Home baked is better for you than factory made. Butter is better for you than chemically altered fats. If you change the ingredients for a recipe, then you change the recipe. Make the gingerbread as it is and have a smaller slice. Then you can add your own substitutes. As a traditional cook I love old recipies and its not what you eat but the amount that we eat that is causing alot of our problems today. A LITTLE of what you fancy does you good.

Barbara Reilley
Barbara Reilley8 years ago

I'd love a recipe with whole wheat (rather than white enriched flour), and sprouted grain would be even healthier. Please help me keep healthy over the yummy-treat holidays.

Cat Kaiser
Cat Kaiser8 years ago

TWO STICKS OF BUTTER! Isn't that a bit much? I think I would cut the butter to 1 stick and maybe substitute apple sauce or apple butter for the other stick. I would also add a quarter cup of flax seeds to add omega 3 fatty acids. I think I'll try it.

Elly Yule
Past Member 8 years ago

This is so yummy I just have to try it. Need to stock up on some ingredients though, I wonder if I could use Maple Syrup as the sweetener?

Beth Hudson
Beth Hudson8 years ago

Oh my gosh! Just reading the list of ingredients has left me 10 lbs. over the limit. Ok, I'm probably shoping for sucanat at the store this weekend. I like the idea of the pears baked into the traditional favorite. I know my house could use the warm inviting fragrance of gingerbread.