Easy French Dessert – Gâteau Fondant Aux Poires – French Pear Tart

by Kirsten on September 12, 2012 · 37 comments

in Cakes, Desserts

No way, not this early, I am thinking, while still all bundled up in my cozy blankets, but I know time is ticking and I can hear noises; footsteps, running water, and draws being opened and closed.  I jump out of bed and hurry into the kitchen.

Luckily it is Mr. Rockies I find and not our early morning cake eating teen. I made it; beaten her to the last few pieces of French Pear Tart. I had baked this cake the day before, but still needed to photograph it to share with all of you. I know that this French pear tart is one of my daughters’ favorite cakes and often it is gone quicker than you can imagine. Sure enough it is not all her fault, her brother, teen number two, helping out whenever he can. They both love this cake, since it is very moist and has the right dough to fruit proportion. The dough is enhanced with vanilla and lemon zest which both complements the pears beautifully.

So here I am, busy shooting pictures for this post and sure enough, there is my daughter, asking me how much longer I would take. Her question reminding me, that she is waiting. Waiting for her breakfast and I am limited on time to spare with my camera and the French pear tart. Lucky me for getting out of bed early.

Gâteau Fondant Aux Poires - French Pear Cake
4.9 from 9 reviews
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
  • 3-4 small ripe pears, peeled and quartered or cubed
  • 1 cup 1½ Tablespoons (250 g) butter, at room temperature
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1¼ cup (250 g) sugar (Kirsten used 200 g)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups 1½ tablespoons (250 g) flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  1. Preheat Convection oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease a 24 cm (9½ inch) spring pan
  3. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat butter and sugar together until very fluffy and white.
  4. Mix in the eggs slowly, one egg at a time. Add vanilla and lemon zest.
  5. In another bowl sift together flour, salt and baking powder.
  6. Add the flour mixture slowly to the egg mixture. Don't over mix.
  7. Pour half of the batter into the spring pan. Place the pears on top. Pour the rest of the batter in the pan.
  8. Bake for about 60 min or until a tooth pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.


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Lucia November 22, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Do you think I can bake this with apples instead of pears?

Kirsten November 22, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Sure. It will be delicious.

jean September 29, 2013 at 4:36 pm

I found this recipe a few days ago and my third cake is now in the oven. What a lovely dessert. I am overwhelmed with pears. 3 trees. Today I am trying it with a layer of cream cheese. You never know. I love your pictures, and want to thank you for sharing. I will be looking at your other items as well. Thumbs up.

Rebecca September 26, 2013 at 8:46 am

I tried this recipe last night but instead of all purpose flour i added my own gluten free blend and my husband and i were in heaven! What a beautiful cake! I only had to cook it for 50 minutes. This will be a hit now and proof that there is life after gluten! 🙂 Thank you for the recipe!

Judy September 13, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Can I substitute honey for the sugar? Would like to try reducing the sugar ??

Kirsten September 14, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Judy, this is a French recipe, already using a lot less sugar than any American recipe. I personally find it perfect as it is. Please let me know how the honey replacement worked out for you.

Isabel August 28, 2013 at 6:48 am

I see two others have asked about the ‘convection oven’ conversion to conventional oven. I, too, am wondering (perhaps third time is the charm?) — I know one can google ‘convection oven/standard oven’ conversion information (though it seems to be mostly for converting FROM standard TO convection) — with general rule being that the conventional oven need higher temp (about 25 degrees) and longer time. But wondering if anyone has actually tried making this in a conventional oven, and, if so, what temp and time they used, and how it turned out.

Isabel August 28, 2013 at 8:52 am

okay, so I just baked it in my conventional oven. Based on what I could find on the web, I raised the temp to 375. Took about 45 minutes to bake. Looks good! Cooling now 🙂

Kirsten August 28, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Isabel, glad to hear it all worked out. Hope you enjoy your cake!

Kirsten August 28, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Isabel, don’t worry. This recipe works well in a conventional oven, I just prefer to bake on Convection. Increase the temp. of your oven by 25 degrees and check the cake at the end of the baking time for doneness. Mine usually takes about 40 minutes, but for you, in a conventional oven it could take up to 50- 60 minutes. Don’t worry. It will come out fine.

Michele July 30, 2013 at 7:38 pm

I don’t have a convection oven. Should I care? Should cooking times be changed? I have some sweet little pears from the neighbor’s house, and I’d like to try this lucious looking recipe!

Sheri May 20, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Oh my heavens even better leftover!

Sheri May 19, 2013 at 7:18 pm

I made this tonight and it was just fabulous. I made it exactly as written.
I was looking for a denser, moister, more custardy cake and this was exactly what I wanted. A little crust on the outside, and thick and moist on the inside.
Thank you!
For earlier poster, I could not find my springform so I made in a regular 9 inch round, baked at 325 for 50 mins, and turned it out when it was cool. It was fine. Just be sure not to go right up to the edge with the pears or it might break apart when turning out. I had a couple of little places on the side where the pears kept it from totally holding together on the edge, so I did a little repair. We had NO problem eating that though!
So good I may have another piece now!

Ellen Miller January 21, 2013 at 1:52 pm

I don’t have a convection oven – would the 350 degree temp hold true for a traditional oven?

Desiree January 6, 2013 at 9:04 pm

I made this today in a bundt cake pan and it came out wonderful. I reduced the temp to 300 and cooked for 45 minutes…thank you so much for this great recipie.

Elia October 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Is the spring-form pan a must? I have all the ingredients, but I don’t have the pan!
Could I use a regular cake pan?
Thanks for such a yummy dessert!

Elif September 22, 2012 at 11:06 pm

I had some pears that were about to go bad if not used and i came across your recipe on Pinerest. It was very similar to a french recipe i used to make in the past. Thanks to the comments, i was able to reduce the amount of butter and made it with one stick of butter and some canola oil. It turned out great; so easy to make and with ingredients you will always have at home. Kids and adults both enjoyed it. I might add more zest next time and maybe some nuts..
Thank you for this soon to be a family classic recipe. I pinned it to one of my boards.

Kirsten September 21, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Liebe Kirsten,

hmmm der Kuchen sieht wirklich himmlich aus! Ich kann Deine Tochter voll und ganz verstehen… Ich an ihrer Stelle hätte auch versucht, mir hier das eine oder andere Stückchen zu stibitzen ;o)

Liebe Grüße,

Ina September 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Funny how this is exactly my Swabian mom’s recipe for apple pie! Add sugar and cinnamon on top and that’s it!
Therefore, I can say out of plenty of experience eating this pretty one… that this cake is just delicious!! 🙂 Next time, I will defintely try peaches! 😀
All the best from the Palatinate!

Kirsten September 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Ina, ich komme ja auch aus der Pfalz und da gibt es sehr viele Rezepte, die ueber die franz.Grenze hinaus verbreitet sind. Gruesse in die Heimat!

MEL September 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Made this yesterday – Used 1 cup of canola oil instead of butter – added in the zest of 1 lemon plus the zest of 1 orange – poured in more than half of batter by mistake in the spring pan followed by the cubed pears and then topped it with the less than half amount of batter – it made no difference – the cake rose & turned out beautiful and there is already no more left – a great recipe especially for pears lovers – a definite keeper – thank you

Helena / Rico sin Azúcar September 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Lovely filling! maybe there’s too much butter for my taste, but only for this time…. 🙂
It’s been nice to find your site in Pinterest, see you!

Kirsten September 15, 2012 at 11:21 am

Helena, Check out Mel’s comment. She replaced the butter with 1 cup of canola oil. Happy Baking. (make sure to use organic canola oil)

Chele September 13, 2012 at 10:59 am

For some reason pears and I don’t get along all that well, do you think I could replace them with apples? This looks a lush bake, I’m quite keen to give it a go ;0)

Kirsten September 13, 2012 at 11:06 am

Chele, Apples would work perfectly, too. I have even used nectarines before. Happy Baking!

Lea Ann (Cooking on the Ranch) September 13, 2012 at 5:49 am

Pear season is upon us. This looks beautiful Kirsten…and If I would have known you had leftovers waiting to be photographed, I would have been standing right next to your daughter waiting for you to be done. 🙂

Ingrid September 13, 2012 at 3:10 am

Zum Reinbeißen, köstlich, mir gefällt das Rezept! Die Birnen sind noch am Baum, das wird sich ändern, nun ran ans Nachbacken, danke für’s Rezept. Liebe Grüße aus Hessen Ingrid

manu September 13, 2012 at 12:43 am

Yes, easy and chic dessert!!!
Have a nice day

Laura September 12, 2012 at 8:35 pm

That looks seriously divine!

Caterina September 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm

This is just what I needed for all the absolutely wonderful pears I got from the CSA Austin Family Farms in Paonia, CO. They are the best pears I have ever tasted and they are grown right there in the valley.
Thanks! And thanks for putting in the “print” function. It makes it so easy to get the recipe right away.

Sue/the view from great island September 12, 2012 at 11:31 am

Easy and French Dessert are two words I don’t think of as going together often, I’ll have to try this, I love pears, especially right now, and I’m all for any dessert that doubles as breakfast.
You did a fabulous job with limited photo time, I know that exact situation well!

Susan September 12, 2012 at 9:54 am

I just bought pears at our farmer’s market and was thinking of what I could bake. The days are now cool (in the 60s), but sunny and pears just sound perfect–which is what this cake is. I can see why your teens want at it:-D XOXO

Karen Harris September 12, 2012 at 9:51 am

What a lovely recipe. I adore pears and don’t cook with them nearly enough. I’m going to have to give this one a try.

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