Pear Dulce de Leche Cake Recipe

Tender Pear Cake filled and frosted with a caramel-like Dulce de Leche Buttercream and bits of oat crumble.

Pear cake with dulce de leche buttercream recipe

Canadian Thanksgiving was over a month ago, but that can't seem to keep my overwhelming feelings of thanks and gratitude away.  As the holidays approach, the days grow darker, and the rainy weather keeps us huddled together inside, I can't help but reflect on lucky I am to be surrounded by love, family, and lots of baked goods.  So when our family friend and editor-in-cheif of Risen Magazine asked if I'd share my story, I didn't hesitate to agree.

In the "Expressions" section of the latest issue, you will find my full creative journey.  From ballet lessons to baby bottles, I discuss my motivations for starting my own cake business to trying to do it all as a working mom to ultimately leaning on a bit of faith that these big, life-changing decisions I've made along the way were the right ones for our little family.  Cake design has been my major creative outlet over the past decade, my way of expressing my fears, doubts, joys, and triumphs.  Worry blocks creativity, so I've been trying my best to be more patient, a little less controlling, and to embrace the imperfections in life.  

Pear cake with dulce de leche buttercream recipe

This Pear Cake is slightly adapted from my book Layered.  The shredded pears nearly melt into the cake and keep it incredibly soft and tender. Adding Dulce de Leche to homemade buttercream is so luxurious.  Similar to caramel, the dulce de leche adds a deeper, not-as-sweet creaminess to the frosting.  Making dulce de leche from a can of sweetened condensed milk is super simple, but you may also try a store-bought variety.  

For an additional layer of texture, I added an Oat Crumble in the middle.  The cake is so moist and the buttercream so silky, I really feel like this cake benefits from a bit of crunch.  The oat crumble recipe will certainly make more than you need, so sprinkle leftovers over yogurt or roasted fruit!

Tessa Huff and family

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Pear Dulce de Leche Cake Recipe

For the cake:
2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cardamom (optional)
3 medium pears, such as Bartlett
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
 ¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
½ cup buttermilk

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cardamom (if using) and set aside.  Peal the pears and shred the pears (a box grater works great here) and place in a mesh sieve (or a few paper towels) over a bowl to drain.  If they are extra juicy, press down gently with a rubber spatula to release some of the excess liquid (or gently bundle them up and squeeze the paper towels).  Set aside.

Using an eclectic mixer, beat together the oil and sugar until combined.  Add in the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add in half of the flour mixture and mix on low until combined.  Slowly stream in the buttermilk until incorporated.  Add in the remaining flour and mix until mostly combined.  Stop the mixer and fold in the drained shredded pears

Evenly divide the batter between the two pans and bake in the pre-heated oven for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.  Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.


For the buttercream:
2/3 cup prepared or store-bought Dulce de Leche (recipe to follow)
Small batch Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Mix the buttercream until silky smooth.  Add in the Dulce de Leche and mix until fully combined.


For the oat crumble (optional):
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced and softened
½ cup rolled oats

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

Place all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  Stir together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the mixture forms small clumps of what looks like “wet sand.”  Dump the contents on a lined baking sheet and spread out.  Bake for 8 to 12 minutes (stirring halfway) until the crumble starts to crisp and turn slightly golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack then break up into small pieces (if the pieces are left large, then the cake will be difficult to slice).


For the Dulce de Leche:
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Place an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a slow-cooker.  Fill with enough water to full submerge the can.  Turn the slow-cooker to “low” and cook for 8 hours.  Very carefully remove the can from the hot water and let it cool at room temperature.  Open the can and store the Dulce de Leche in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. 

Place a cooled cake on a cake board or serving dish.  Spread on about 1 cup of buttercream with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle on a generous amount of oat crumble and top with the second layer of cake.  Frost the cake with the buttercream and decorate as desired.

For the boarder, fill a piping bag fitted with a petal tip (Wilton #104), and pipe interlocking "V's" around the top and bottom edges of the cake. Keep the narrow end of the tip facing up as you pipe.



Trail Mix Cookies

Sweet, salty, and crunchy - the perfect mix-and-match cookies!  These Trail Mix Cookies are hearty and full of nuts, seeds, fruit, and grains.

Trail Mix Cookies

My baby boy started pre-school on Monday.  Let's all take a moment (mostly just me) to let that sink in...


Okay, but seriously – how can that be?!?!  To celebrate, we made these delicious Trail Mix Cookies together.  If that's all you came here for, then go ahead and scroll down.  But if you want to read a bit about my darling boy (even if it's just me and maybe my mom coming back to read this 10 years from now), then keep reading.

Trail Mix Cookies
Trail Mix Cookies

Oh Everett James... I am so proud!  My baby boy is still so sweet, sensitive, and without an aggressive bone in his little body.  But while he still asks for cuddles, he is also brave, silly, and clever.  It's funny, I feel like he is one of lasts ones left of all my friends' kids to go to school/daycare but he is only 2.5 years old.  I didn't start pre-school until I was 3, so who knows.  What I do know is that he is going to thrive in this program.

Everett spends a lot of time with adults so I am excited for him to truly interact with kids his own age.  Sure we go to music class and gymnastics, but this is his first time without mom or our wonderful nanny.  Being around adults all the time has made him quite mature, curious, and patient.  He looks before he leaps and likes to figure things out first instead diving right in.  I swear I can hear the wheels churning is his little brain while he tries to take in a new situation sometimes.  He gets nervous when there are too many kids around, especially when they are being rowdy.  He likes rules and order, unless I'm telling him not to do something that he really wants to do, haha.  Having a January birthday likely means he is the oldest in his new class.  I hope he learns to play hard and be a bit more free-spirited while also being a leader for those little ones that are lot younger than him.

Trail Mix Cookies

Things he's into these day:
– Cars of all kind
– Jumping off the furniture and rough-housing with dad
– Riding his balance bike
– Cooking with mom (mainly smoothies, granola, and cookies/muffins/bread)
– Books
– Learning his letters, numbers, and colors
– Riding the SkyTrain
– Swimming at Nan's house
– Singings songs (nursery rhymes and show tunes, lol)
– Beach life

Trail Mix Cookies

Okay, on to the cookies.... oh these cookies are soooo good!  I literally can't stop eating them and I don't even feel bad about it.  The recipes comes from America's Test Kitchen's latest masterpiece: The Perfect Cookie.  Perfect, indeed!

ATK really nailed this book.  Seriously.  They killed it - in a good way.  It is jam-packed with recipe after recipe for cookies, brownies, and bars – each one tested and retested until perfection.  What I absolutely LOVE about this book is that each and every recipe comes with a section called "Why This Recipe Works" which breaks down not only what the cookies should taste/look/feel like, but all the tips/tricks, techniques, and exact ingredients that went into creating the perfect recipe.  I live for this stuff!!  If you like to know the how's and why's behind your recipes, then get this book!

Trail Mix Cookies
Trail Mix Cookies

I book-marked over a dozen recipes to make, but I ultimately picked the Trail Mix Cookies because I had all of the ingredients already.  All of the ingredients that I wanted to use, that is.  I love this recipe because it is totally customizable.  The base is actually on the healthy-ish side (as far as cookies go) using only a little melted butter, whole wheat flour, and tons of oats.  The fun comes with all the add-ins.  I live for add-ins!  These hearty cookies are filled with an assortment of nuts, seeds, fruit, and a little bit of chocolate (because you can't leave out the chocolate, am I right?).  These were also fun for Everett to make because he got to scoop and toss in so many different ingredients.  In the end, we went with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds (ours were salted and made the cookies perfectly salty/sweet), dried cherries, and chopped walnuts.  Feel free to mix and match your own batch with whatever you have on hand!

Trail Mix Cookies
recipe from The Perfect Cookie

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
splash almond extract (optional)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, raisins, currants)
1/2 cup seeds (pumpkin or sunflower)
1/4 cup toasted, chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds)
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

In a small-medium bowl, stir together the oats, flours, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the butter, egg, vanilla, and almond (is using).  Add in the brown sugar and stir until no clumps remain. Add in the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to stir until just combined.  Add in the nuts, seeds, fruit, and chocolate.  Fold until evenly distributed.

Using a mechanical disher, scoop out balls of dough (about 2 tablespoons) and place on the lined baking sheets at least 2-inches apart.  Bake for 14 to 18 minutes (depending on the size of your cookies).  When done, the edges should be set but the center should look almost raw and undercooked.  Let cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Thank you the America's Test Kitchen for providing a copy of The Perfect Cookie.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.



The Best of 2015

Another great year is already over!!  And before we say good-bye to 2015, I wanted to give you all a quick look into the NEW Style Sweet CA!  It will have all the same great content, larger images, lots of cake recipes, and easier access to my favorite resources and recipes.  Think of the site as getting a fresh face-lift for 2016!  If all goes according to plan, Style Sweet CA will be getting its brand-new look on January 4th (I've been designing it all myself, so please forgive me if there are any delays).  

Also, I do hope that the mailing list that all of you subscribers belong to will carry over.  However, if you stop receiving updates and recipes from me all together, then please check back in on the new site and sign up next week!  Again, I am not very tech-savvy, so I apologize for any hiccups that may occur.  But trust me, it's going to be so worth it!  The new site is just gorgeous (if you ask me, hehe).  I'll be sure to send out another reminder about the new site over the next couple days.

In the meantime, let's take a look at my favorite year to date - 2015.  Before I start rambling about the lessons I've learned, my predictions for the future, or try to come up with something super profound/witting/inspirational, I've decided to memorialize the year with The Best of 2015.

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