Winter Pear Spice Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

Let your winter fantasy cake come to life with this winning recipe from our Holiday Challenge!

Difficulty level: Medium
Time required: 1 hour+



  • 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
  • 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


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



  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.


  1. Beat butter, shortening and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
  2. Add one cup of powdered sugar and beat on low.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  2. Place one layer on your turntable, serving plate or cake stand, and dollop a large amount of frosting on top of it.
  3. 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.
  4. Fill the well with the pear mixture.
  5. Place the second layer on top, upside down.
  6. Place another dollop of frosting on that layer and spread to the edges again.
  7. Add more icing to your spatula to cover the sides of the cake. Use a cake scraper to smooth out the icing.
  8. Serve and enjoy!


    Recipe creator:   


    Kelly is a talented recipe developer from Canada and is passionate about food and travel! Discover more of her amazing kitchen creations and travel adventures on her blog at

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