Dear Lynda: Owner Sumi Chang was happy to share her recipe for this wonderfully fragrant, moist and delicious cake, writing that "it is a very humble-looking cake, but the taste is incredible. Originally, someone gave me this recipe as an apple cake recipe, and I baked a lot of apple cake using it. Once, however, I was out of apples, so I used Anjou pears instead. The rest, as they say, is history." The secret is the ripe pears; Sumi told us she usually buys the pears before they are fully ripe, then lets them ripen fully before using.
Euro Pane's pear spice cake
Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes, plus cooling time
Servings: 12 to 16
Note: Adapted from Sumi Chang of Euro Pane in Pasadena. She recommends using fully ripened Anjou pears.
3 cups (12.75 ounces) flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
7 ripe Anjou pears, peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
2 cups chopped walnuts
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease again.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon, and set aside.
3. In a separate large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar, then beat in the oil. Beat in the flour mixture just until combined, then fold in the pears and nuts.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake until puffed and golden brown, and a toothpick placed in the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Check the cake after an hour, and cover the top loosely with a sheet of foil if it browns too quickly before it is done.
5. Remove and cool completely on a rack before serving.