Winter Pear Spice Cake with a Vanilla “Buttercream” (Vegan, GF)

‘Tis the season for cakes you make for others and eat yourself (thanks COVID).

Feeling sad about the virus during the holidays? Do what I do – spend ample amounts of money on yourself, eat endless desserts and relish in all of your glorious decorations! It will 100% make you feel better.

Firstly, let’s talk about self-love. Haven’t you ever heard, “You gotta look out for #1?!” That’s you, babe! You’re #1! This holiday, why not buy that nice blender you wanted? Or, that new piece of art for your wall? I’m not seeing the people I normally see on Christmas, meaning, I don’t need to buy them gifts, so that money has to go somewhere…right?! Right!

I actually just bought myself a nice, new mattress, and you know what?! I deserve it. If not because I work hard, than because I survived this year. If you are looking for a well-priced, well-made mattress, check out Endy. They are a Canadian company, and have endless 5-star reviews. You get $55 off your purchase by clicking here…Treat yo’self!

The holidays are also for munchin’. It’s stretchy-pant season and I’m all for it. I had every intention of delivering this cake to some family members, but NOPE. Changed my mind. I ate it instead.

I have a passion for cake decorating – it makes me happy to bring together two of my loves – art and food. For this cake, I wanted to create a clean, and fresh winter scene. The mood is meant to be bright, airy and uplifting. I love how clean and profesh (that’s short for professional…did I just make up the next trending word?!) white looks on cake. I also wanted to add a little sparkle, because it’s Christmas, so I decorated with some gold and white sprinkles to pull it all together!

In terms of the cake itself, I wanted to stay true to holiday flavours – warm and aromatic spices with subtle notes of vanilla. I chose a pear filling that screams winter. Did I mention this cake is vegan and gluten-free as well? Yaass.

Winter Pear Spice Cake with a Vanilla “Buttercream” (Vegan, GF)

Yield: A two-layer 6-inch cake

Prep time: 60 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes


For the cake:

  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour, I use Bob’s Red Mill
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, separated
  • 1/2 tsp dried ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 large pear, peeled and finely diced

For the icing:

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp canned coconut milk


For the cake:

  1. Grease two, 6-inch baking pans,* line with parchment paper and dust with flour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Stir coconut milk and apple cider vinegar together and set aside.
  3. Wet ingredients: In a large bowl, beat 3/4 cup brown sugar with the banana and vanilla until combined.
  4. Dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  5. In a few additions, alternate between adding the flour mixture and the coconut milk to the wet ingredients. Beat on medium speed until combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake 30 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let sit in pans for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  7. While your cakes bake, combine the diced pear together with the remaining two tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

For the icing:

  1. Beat butter, shortening, vanilla and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add one cup of powdered sugar and beat on low. Continue adding sugar by the cup, along with the coconut milk, one tablespoon at a time, until you have used all of the powdered sugar. If frosting is too thick, slowly add more coconut milk. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar.

To assemble:

  1. Use a serrated knife to trim the top (dome-like) part of the cakes off. Place one layer on your turntable, serving plate or cake stand, and dollop a large amount of frosting on top of it. Spread with a spatula to the edges to create an even layer of frosting, and than apply pressure in the middle with a small, offset spatula to create a “well.” You should have a “dam” around the circumference of the cake to contain the filling. Fill the well with the pear mixture. Place the second layer on top, upside down. Place another dollop of frosting on that layer and spread to the edges again. Add more icing to your spatula to cover the sides of the cake. Use a cake scraper to smooth out the icing. Serve and enjoy!


*Sometimes I like to create thinner layers and I use three 6-inch pans instead. If you do this, the cook time will reduce by about 10 minutes…Keep a close eye!

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