Italian Pear and Mascarpone Cake
Updated: Apr 19, 2020
Our take on classic Italian Pear and Mascarpone Cake - light and delicate cake filled with mellow and semi-sweet pears. Thanks to the addition of butter the cake gets its crusty and buttery skin. Addition of oil keeps the cake moist and fresh for longer. We are adding lemon juice and lemon zest to lift up mellow pear flavour.
Glass of milk, a sprinkle of icing sugar and you have a very enjoyable snack cake. Dare we say, a breakfast cake!
Pears need to be thinly sliced and tossed in potato or cornflour. A little note on the flavour. This cake is very delicate, light and mellow. If you want to lift up flavour of mellow pears (which here mainly contribute to the moisture) - mix thinly sliced pears with 2/3 tsp cardamom, 2 tsps sugar and cornflour, before adding to the cake.
You will be beating egg yolks with sugar, lemon zest, vanilla for 5-8 minutes until creamy and pale - don’t take shortcuts as this will create fluffy cake base. You will start adding mascarpone and 2 Tablespoons of clear lemon juice to beaten egg yolks and then in a steady stream continue adding melted butter and oil. You will then mix in sliced pears. The cake batter will be thick. As a last step you will beat egg whites with a pinch of salt and gently fold them in into the cake batter.
Bake at 180C (170C fan) for 50 minutes. Make sure to check with skewer or chopstick if fully baked through.
For a good bake:
1. Mascarpone cheese and eggs - make sure both ingredients are at room temperature. You can warm up mascarpone to 21C in a small pot over low heat. You can place eggs in a bowl full of warm water to bring to room temperature.
- for this bake choose hard or semi-hard pears. Bosc type would be best. If you are using Bartlett or Concorde make sure you get semi-hard ones (as they go ripe fairly fast).
- chop pears thinly (3mm thin pieces) - use same technique as for chopping onions :) (cut in half, slice horizontally into 3mm thin slices, and chop like onions vertically). If you chop too coarsely = high risk of soggy bottom.
3. Baking temperature - keep at 180C (170C fan forced) throughout baking. Don’t cover this cake with aluminium foil. Start checking after 45 minutes.
Italian Pear and Mascarpone Cake Recipe
Yield: 10 -12 servings
Time: 20 minutes prep + 50 minutes baking
Tin: 24 cm spring form or round form with removable base
- 3 small pears, peel and remove seeds
- 3 flat Tbsps (30g) potato or cornflour
- 2/3 tsp cardamom + 2 tsps sugar (optional)
- 240g all-purpose flour
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 3 large eggs, separated, room temperature
- 150g caster sugar
- zest from 1 lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 200g Mascarpone, room temperature
- 2 Tbsps clear lemon juice
- 2 Tbsps (30ml) sunflower oil or rapeseed oil
- 40g unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 180C (170C fan forced) and line baking tin with parchment paper.
2. Prepare pears: Thinly slice pears and toss in 3 Tbsps cornflour, cardamom and sugar (if using).
3. Sift flour with baking powder.
4. Beat egg yolks with sugar, lemon zest, vanilla bean paste, salt until pale and creamy (5-8 minutes, whisk attachment).
5. Beat egg whites: Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt. Egg whites are to be firm but not too dry.
6. Prepare wet ingredients: Add mascarpone and 2 Tbsps of clear lemon juice to egg yolks (from Step 4) and mix on low speed, in a steady stream add oil and melted butter and mix only until combined.
7. Combine: Gently mix flour sifted with baking powder with the rest of ingredients (few swift moves, don't over-mix). Add chopped pears and using spatula fold in until incorporated. The batter will be thick. As a last step, gently fold in beaten egg whites. Pour the batter into the baking tin.
8. Bake at 180C (170C fan) for 50 minutes. Check with a skewer if fully baked through. When baked, cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then using thin knife loosen edges and transfer to the cooling rack. Sprinkle with icing sugar, enjoy warm or cooled.