I love pears. There really is no real substitute for one that is perfectly ripe, and dripping in juice and sweetness.
This recipe is my celebration of pear season. I adapted it from a pear Bundt cake recipe Martha Stewart has in her Baking Handbook. Basically, it is very much like an applesauce cake, only you make a quick pear sauce from scratch and add it to the batter at the end.
A couple of weeks ago, I made a similar recipe on my other blog, but instead of cupcakes, I made it up in loaf pans. I hope you’ll enjoy these.
Pear Spice Cupcakes
2 ripe pears, peeled and cut in chunks
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour
cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners. Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine pear chunks and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the pears soften and break apart. You can help them along by smashing them with a potato masher, or just cook until they get soft on their own. Measure out 3/4 cup of pear sauce and set aside to cool.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, the remainder of the granulated sugar, and the brown sugar. Mix on high until light and fluffy. Add in egg, and beat well. Add in vanilla, and beat on medium high speed for 4 minutes. Mix in sour cream.
4. In a small bowl, combine spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients to butter and sugar mixture. Mix until just incorporated. Stir in reserved pear sauce. Divide evenly among the paper liners and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcakes comes out clean.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients together with an electric mixer until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.