Brown Butter Pear Cake

  • Author: Adapted from Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 55 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x


The browned butter gives the otherwise simple batter a beguiling depth and complexity – the end result is part pie, part cake and all delicious. Best when served warm with a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream.




  • 3 large ripe Bosc pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously butter an 11-inch glass or ceramic pie dish.
  2. In a mixing bowl, gently toss the pears with sugar, lemon juice and cardamom. Arrange into an even layer in the prepared pie dish.
  3. In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, melt the butter and cook until golden brown, about 7-10 minutes (watch it carefully to ensure it doesn’t burn). Remove from heat immediately, and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Scrape the browned butter and solids into a mixing bowl. Stir in the 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time, stirring well to incorporate between additions. Add the flour and salt, and fold in until just barely combined. Spoon the batter evenly over the pears, then smooth the top to make an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon sugar.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until top is golden and filling is bubbly, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack until just warm, then slice into wedges and serve with dollops of whipped cream or very good vanilla ice cream.