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Vegan Gingerbread Pear Bundt Cake

Vegan Gingerbread Pear Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce

I wanted to create a cake that embraced the season and its rich flavors. Bold gingerbread, sweet pears, a little caramel sauce swizzled over the top to bring it all together. Something that would work well as a mid-morningΒ snack cake alongside a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, but would also be well-received by all as a special occasion dessert (Thanksgiving, anyone?)

Vegan Gingerbread Pear Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce

Initially, I thought of a few go-to vegan baking ingredients. Flax eggs. Almond milk. Coconut oil. But then my mind turned to one of my very favorite cakes, a cake I enjoyed often growing up, a cake I had no idea was vegan until a few years ago. It’s a rich, moist chocolate number called Wacky Cake, though growing up, we called it Crazy Cake – and we always enjoyed it with a dollop of whipped cream. So much for being vegan.

Wacky Cake was reportedly created during the Great Depression, when staples such as eggs and milk were in short supply. Enterprising cooks dreamed up a cake that utilized vinegar and baking soda instead,Β creating bubbles that help the cake to rise.

I thought I’d borrow that naturally vegan cake’s formula for this gingerbread version. Other than omitting the cocoa, of course, I also swapped the typical vegetable oil for, yes, coconut oil. Brown sugar and molasses give this cake that signature rich mahogany hue; a generous hand with the spices adds loads of flavor. And then, of course, pear chunks, and quite a few of them.

Vegan Gingerbread Pear Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce

I’m super excited about this recipe, in part becauseΒ just like the inspiration cake, I really believe no one would ever know it’s vegan. Which is something you can’t necessarily say about some vegan baked goods. It’s excellent shortly after it comes out of the oven – drizzled with caramel sauce or not – but it’s even better after a day or two, when the flavors really get a chance to meld. This is one of those cakes that gets moister the longer it hangs out.

Vegan Gingerbread Pear Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce

Vegan Gingerbread Pear Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce

 

And then, let’s eat cake.

Vegan Gingerbread Pear Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce

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Vegan Gingerbread Pear Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce

Vegan Gingerbread Pear Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce

Bold gingerbread cake studded with chunks of pear and baked in bundt form. What could be better than this super-moist, in-your-face cake? The (also vegan) caramel sauce drizzled on top, of course!

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8-10

Ingredients

For the Gingerbread Pear Bundt Cake:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted + a little more for greasing the pan
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 medium pears, peeled and diced 1/2-inch (about 3 cups diced)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting the top, if desired

For the Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350Β°F. Grease bundt pan with a little coconut oil – 1 or 2 teaspoons – and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, water, brown sugar, molasses, vinegar and vanilla.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Use a whisk to mix the batter together just until combined. The batter will be rather loose and wet. Fold in the pears.
  5. Pour batter into the bundt pan and bake until the cake begins to pull away from the edges slightly and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out nearly dry, 45 to 60 minutes.
  6. Let cool for 5 minutes then use a knife to carefully loosen any stuck sides. Invert cake over a wire rack and lift off the pan. Let cake cool completely.
  7. Carefully transfer cooled cake to platter or cake plate and dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
  8. While the cake cools, make the caramel sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, vanilla and salt. Set aside.
  9. Add the sugar and water to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir just to combine, but do not stir after that! Allow mixture to come to a boil and watch it carefully. After about 6 minutes, the mixture will start to turn golden, then light brown, and it will smell like caramel. As soon as it has turned brown, slowly pour in the coconut milk mixture. The caramel will bubble enthusiastically at first. If the sugar hardens around the whisk, don’t worry, this is normal – just keep stirring and it will dissolve. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the caramel sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.
  10. Slice cake and put on plates. Drizzle individual servings with the caramel sauce. Serve.

Notes

The caramel sauce may be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated in an airtight container. It keeps well for up to 5 days. Allow the sauce to come to room temperature to thin out a bit before serving. You can also warm it in the microwave for a few seconds to speed up the process.

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23 Comments

  • Reply
    Vincent Tang
    October 27, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Wish it came withe the cake…looks SO GOOD.

  • Reply
    Robyn
    October 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    This cake looks AMAZING! I want to try it so bad, haha! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Millie | Add A Little
    October 27, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I love the autumnal flavour of the gingerbread!

  • Reply
    Sam @ PancakeWarriors
    October 27, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Oh those spices with pear and caramel sauce – delish! Thanks for sharing the giveaway with us! I can’t wait to get creative in the kitchen!

  • Reply
    Lindsey | Cafe Johnsonia
    October 27, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    This cake has my name written all over it! I’m going to try a GF version next weekend. I’m also tripping out over the glass pan!!! I had no idea those were even available and I MUST have one now!

    • Reply
      Bridget Young
      December 6, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      Hi Lindsey,
      Did you try a GF version? Did it work? What was your flour /starch combo?
      I’m dying to try this but am so tired of having flops when I try to make a regular vegan cake gluten free. I’m sure you know the feeling. Love to know your results.

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    October 28, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Why not blackstrap molasses?

    • Reply
      Kare Raye
      October 29, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      Hi Kimberly, because blackstrap can be quite bitter and would likely overtake the flavor of the cake (and not in a good way!)

  • Reply
    Francesca
    October 29, 2014 at 1:33 am

    Praise baby jesus! A vegan cake that actually looks delicious.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    October 29, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Beautiful recipe Kare! The combination of pear and gingerbread is such a warming duo, it makes me want to grab a slice and revel in the season. Great healthy ingredients too πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Kare Raye
      October 30, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks so much, Emilie. I am totally smitten with the combo, for sure. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com
    October 29, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Lovely bundt recipe, Kare! Delectable spices too πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Kare Raye
      October 30, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      Thank you, Kiran!

  • Reply
    Aniqa
    October 29, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    This looks amazing!! The photos are very good as well πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Ella
    November 1, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Do you think this cake would work with apples instead of pears? Thank you! The gingerbread part looks delicious, but I can’t do pears unfortunately :/

  • Reply
    julie
    November 14, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    HI- do not have a bundt pan- could I try a springform pan or just a pyrex square dish?

    • Reply
      Kare Raye
      November 19, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Hi Julie, I’ve not tried it in another pan but I would think either would still work great!

  • Reply
    Deirdre Henry
    November 30, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    I make the Whacky Chocolate cake for my Vegan daughter. This pear version looks delicious and it will make a change for her. I’ll surprise her with it Christmas Day. Thank you for posting.

  • Reply
    GretchenJoanna
    September 14, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Can the caramel sauce also be made ahead?

  • Reply
    Bill
    November 4, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Which size of the Simex glass bundt pan do you use for this recipe? I assume the large (10 inch diameter), not the small (8 inch)?

  • Reply
    Jean Mayo
    November 16, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Sounds good ! I am definitely going to try it! Curious tho, the caramel sauce has no caramel in it? Am I missing something?

  • Reply
    lillian
    May 3, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    I just made this with some pears that someone had given me. The smell from the oven was wonderful, but the taste is even better. A scoop of vanilla ice cream would be perfect for it. My pears, however, were way too large, so I only used 2. I guess it was still too much because the added moisture and heaviness caused it to crack when I unmolded it.

  • Reply
    Cecily
    August 10, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    Five stars! If you want the cake fluffy like no other vegan cake, serve and eat right away. However I flipped mine over onto a plate, and after tasting a slice, kept it in the (still warm) oven overnight and it became moist, caramelised (on the top) and dense. Loved it! It was gone in under 24 hours. Didn’t even do the sauce yet! Thank you for the recipe!

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