Sweet and fragrant with a maple-cream cheese icing, this Pear Cardamom Cake is a beautiful and comforting dessert. Great for holiday entertaining!Inspired by "Spiced Apple Walnut Cake with Cream Cheese Icing," Giada De Laurentiis, Happy Cooking (Pam Krauss Books, 2015)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in middle position. Grease and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together maple syrup, eggs, oil, and brown sugar until very smooth. (You can also use a hand mixer or stand mixer on medium-low speed for convenience.)
In a medium bowl, toss diced pears with 2 tablespoons flour. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in 3 additions until combined. Fold in pears and pecans.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean, 55-60 minutes. Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the icing and serve
In a blender or food processor, process confectioners' sugar, maple syrup, heavy cream, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon water until smooth, scraping bowl as needed. Add additional cool water 1 teaspoon at a time until the icing is a pourable consistency. Pour icing over the cooled cake and let stand for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
*The strength of your cardamom will vary by brand and freshness. If you don't like a prominent cardamom flavor, or if the particular brand of cardamom you're using is extremely aromatic, decrease to 1/2 teaspoon. If your cardamom is very mild, consider increasing to your personal spice preference.