The amazing taste of ground nuts, just a hint of sweet, and the nostalgic flavor of halwa that any Indian can recognize. This Pear Halwa Cake has become so popular in my household, I’ve actually been making it almost on a weekly basis.
Halwa for Indians usually means there is a special occasion or festival to be celebrated. Growing up, I looked forward to my mom having a special pooja (religious ceremony for the Gods and Deities) or going to the temple so that I could have the halwa usually offered after these religious events. I still look forward to those and also for family birthdays as my mother-in-law will make halwa to mark these special events.
Typically, halwa is made of semolina, ghee, and sugar. Of course both moms add in cardamom, saffron, and the occasional nuts to make it even more special, but the core is those three ingredients.
Last December, I came across a pear almond cake recipe which turned out really good actually. It also faintly tasted of halwa to me. I knew I wanted to emphasize that flavor so I had to make a few changes. And take back a few changes. I’m serious when I tell you I must have made this recipe dozens of times to perfect the taste. It is absolutely worth it!
I use flax seeds combined with milk in this recipe to replace eggs. You can use eggs, however, traditionally, since Halwa is a food offered to the Gods first, there can be no eggs (per Hindu rules). I wanted to keep the integrity of that belief without compromising the flavor and the flax seeds and milk combo were the perfect fit.
As I mentioned before, semolina is one of the main ingredients but it just didn’t work with this cake. I tried it several times and unfortunately, it just couldn’t stay. Instead, I used a ground nut mix of almonds and pistachios.
To cut the amount of sugar (which is usually A LOT in a traditional halwa), I replaced what I cut out with very ripe pears. I thought a lot about which fruit to use and this was the best as it a mild tasting fruit which wouldn’t overwhelm the other flavors of the cake. Make sure you have very ripe pears as those will be sweet without overwhelming the flavor of the cake.
I used a springform pan for this cake to make the removal easier. A traditional cake pan won’t work because it will ruin the cake if you try to invert it. If you don’t have a springform pan, check out the link below to the one I use and love.
From my kitchen to yours, enjoy this delicious Pear Halwa Cake!