These sunken pear cakes pairs the brightness of lemon with the comforting flavor of roasted pears, and they're topped with a delicious brandy glaze. The cake makes for a beautiful little package on its own, but is even prettier when you cut into it and the pear peeks out to say hello!
For the pear lemon cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and lightly flour 4 (5-inch) cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper and set them aside.
Stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, and cardamom in a medium bowl and set it aside.
Beat together the sugar and eggs in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at medium speed until pale yellow and silky. Add the creme fraiche, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and mix at low speed until combined. Add the flour mixture in two increments, mixing until just combined.
Peel the pears and cut the bottom 1/2-inch off of them so that they have a flat bottom to stand upright on without falling over.
Evenly distribute the batter between the four pans, spreading it with a spatula so that it touches the interior edges of each pan. Place a pear in the center of each pan, then place the pans in the oven and bake until the cakes are golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the cake near the pear comes out relatively clean, about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before running a butter knife around the edge of the pan, placing your hand over the top of the pan so that the pear pokes through between your ring and middle finger, and flipping the pan over to remove the cake, setting it on a wire rack to cool completely.
For the brandy glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, brandy, and 1 tablespoon milk until smooth. If you want the glaze a bit thinner, add another tablespoon or two of milk and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cakes and serve.