Spiced Gin Pear Cake and Washington Gewürztraminer

The arrival of Bartlett pears in the late summer marks the beginning of pear season, a season that then peaks in the fall. The beauty of fresh ripe pears is in the endless ways these sweet juicy fruits can inspire thoughts of Autumn desserts. This year the Northwest Pear crop was one of the largest on record and on my drive home from a recent trip to Lake Chelan, WA, I couldn’t resist stopping at a fruit stand in Leavenworth to pick up a few pounds of this years bountiful crop.

Spiced Gin Pear Cake

I used is Trillium Gin from Oregon Distillery, Trail Distilling, but you can use any gin you fancy. I just love the beautiful notes of citrus, juniper and floral flavors in this gin, it added so much earthiness to the mild Bartlett pears.

You can find out more about Trail Distilling on their website.

“There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The addition of fresh lemon zest to this cake gives it a brightness that also brings out the richness of the warm spices.
Thyme brings everything in this cake together and elevates it from a simple dessert to something that deserves a spot on the table during your next brunch or dinner party. The addition of fresh herbs is great way to experiment with adding a bit of savory flavor to your baking.
This cake isn’t complete without a dusting of powdered sugar.

This Spiced Gin Pear cake is honestly an ode to the season, and it can be an easy “go to” cake all winter long. I loved this recipe so much that I decided to add it to the dessert table at Thanksgiving. It’s that good.

The trip to Lake Chelan Wine Valley also gave me the opportunity to bring home some Washington wines that I knew would pair perfectly with Autumn desserts. One of those wines was this 2018 Reserve Gewürztraminer from WineGirl Wines. I loved the low 1.5% sugar in this Gewürztraminer and its slightly spicy, white peach flavor. It was a beautiful wine to enjoy with a slice of warm Spiced Gin Pear cake.

I am such a sucker for sweet wines, especially Gewürztraminer with its sweet and seductive floral bouquet.

Spiced Gin Pear Cake

This Spiced Gin Pear cake is the perfect dessert for entertaining and for pairing with a Gewürztraminer, Riesling or dessert wine. Loaded with lush ripe pears, fresh thyme and fragrant gin this cake is sure to be a crowd pleasure.


  • 4 Ripe Pears (I used Bartlett Pears)
  • 6 Sprigs of Thyme
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 tsp Ground Cardamon
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Pink Himalayan Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs at room temperature
  • ¾ cup Raw Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Gin
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • cup Buttermilk at room temperature
  • ½ cup Butter, melted plus more for greasing parchment paper
  • 2 tbsp Demerara Sugar
  • Powdered Sugar for dusting


  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Place a piece of parchment paper into an 8-or 9-inch cast iron pan and grease with butter.
    2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking powder, and salt. In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Whisk in the sugar, gin, and vanilla extract. Pour in the buttermilk and whisk to combine.
    3. Peel, halve, and core 3 of the pears, then cut them into 1/2-inch-thick cubes. Reserve the remaining pear (unpeeled, and cut into 1/4-inch slices) for the top.
    4. Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined, then gently fold in half of the melted butter. Repeat with the remaining flour and butter. Gently fold in the cubed pears, reserving the slices. Add the leaves from 5 thyme leaves.
    5. Transfer the batter to the pan and arrange the pear slices in a circular pattern on top of the batter. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and the remaining thyme leaves. Bake until the cake turns a deep golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 55 minutes.
    6. Transfer the skillet to a cooling rack and let sit for 5 minutes. The cake may be served warm or at room temperature, directly from the skillet; whichever you choose, be sure to dust with confectioners sugar before serving.

If you make this Spiced Gin Pear cake I would love to hear what wine you paired it with.

Images © Drink In Nature Photography and Drink In Life Blog.

One Comment on “Spiced Gin Pear Cake and Washington Gewürztraminer

  1. Pingback: A Word with the Winemaker- Angela Jacobs of WineGirl Wines | Drink In Life

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