Whole grain & low sugar recipes

Sugar free baking

Recipes featuring whole grains and no refined sugar

Low Sugar Vanilla Pear Cake

The cinnamon top mixes nicely with the sweet pears and the vanilla in this low sugar vanilla pear cake.

I love to find a way to use fruit that's in season, and my mission this week was to find something delicious that I could bake with pears.

I found a recipe on for Country Pear Cake, and thought that this would make a great base for my pear concoction.

As usual, I substituted whole wheat flour for the white, and I used canola oil rather than olive oil because I wanted to keep the cake light tasting. I added some vanilla, unsweetened applesauce and a bit of cinnamon to the recipe and I loved the results.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 1 8-inch round cake

Mildly Sweet Recipe


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 pears, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon for sprinkling on top


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, canola oil, milk, applesauce and vanilla. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until blended.

  4. Gently stir in pears, do not overmix.

  5. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with cinnamon.

  6. Bake for 40 minutes until brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.

  7. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen cake. Turn cake onto rack and then invert onto serving plate right side up.

It may seem like there are too many pears to mix into the batter, but don't worry, all of those pears will make the cake sweet and juicy.

Low Sugar vanilla pear cake nutrition

Sweeter Option

For a sweeter cake, replace the 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce in the Mildly Sweet recipe above with 1/4 cup sugar. Whisk the sugar in with the eggs, oil, milk and vanilla in step 3. Omit the unsweetened applesauce.

If you would like to experiment with other sweeteners, see About Sweeteners for more information and nutrition facts on honey, maple syrup, stevia and other sweeteners.

Low Sugar vanilla pear cake nutrition

Most of the recipes on Sweet Smart are adapted from my favourite cookbooks and websites. The Sweeter Option usually calls for about 1/4 to 1/2 of the sugar used in the original recipe.

Adapted from: Country Pear Cake from

Recipe Sweetness

Sweet Smart recipes offer 2 sweetness levels:

1. Mildly Sweet
For those looking to enjoy baked treats with low sugar content. Recipes are designed to:
  • Minimize potential blood sugar spikes
  • Reduce cravings for sweets

2. Sweeter Option
For those who want a bit more sweetness in their baked goods, but are still looking for a lower sugar option.

These recipes are not meant to replicate traditional recipes, they are meant to provide a less sweet alternative.

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