Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch cake pan and set aside.
Combine 1 cup of dates and 1 cup of water in a medium pan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Once it is at a constant gentle boil, mix in 1 teaspoon of baking soda and continue to mix for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and continue to mix for another minute. Set aside.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Using your freestanding mixer, combine butter and granulated sugar in the mixing bowl with the paddle attachment. Mix together on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the speed down to low and add 1 egg. Continue mixing, and add vanilla extract. Keep mixing and now slowly add the date mixture. Once the date mixture is combined, slowly add the dry ingredients. Before the flour mixture is completely combined, stop mixing. Remove the paddle attachment and fold in the coconut flakes. Gently fold in the diced pears.
Transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 45 minutes, rotate the pan and bake for another 10 minutes. Check to make sure the cake is fully cooked by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, it is ready.
Let the cake cool while you prepare your stencil. Remove the cake from the pan by inverting it onto a cutting board. Flip the cake back over and lay the stencil down on the cake. Sift powdered sugar over your stencil. Enjoy!
Makes one 9-inch cake
Recipe by The Fruit Company® Blog at http://blog.thefruitcompany.com/holiday-cake-with-pears-dates/