White Pear Cake


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Almost Vegetarian Cookbook

Almost Vegetarian Cookbook

By Josceline Dimbleby

Published 1999

  • About

This cake has a tender white crumb and is topped with pears spiced with cinnamon. It can be served warm with cream or yogurt as a pudding or eaten cold as a special teatime treat. I have also made an equally delicious version using apples instead of pears.


  • 50g (2oz) soft butter
  • 3 tablespoons soft light brown sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 500g (1 lb) firm pears
  • 175g (6oz) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 2 large egg whites (size 1)
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar


Spread the butter thickly over the bottom and rather more thinly up the sides of a 23cm (9-inch) cake tin. Mix together the brown sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon. Spread two-thirds of this mixture over the butter on the base of the tin. Peel and slice the pears thinly, and overlap on top of the sugar. Sprinkle the remaining sugar on top. Set the oven to preheat at Gas Mark 4/180°C/350°F.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Pour in the oil. Strain in the lemon juice, add the milk and beat until you have a thick, smooth batter. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and whisk again until the mixture is stiff but not breaking up. Gradually whisk in the caster sugar. Using a metal spoon, fold the mixture into the batter and then pour it on top of the pears in the tin. Cook the cake on the centre shelf of the oven for 50–60 minutes. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes; then turn the cake out, upside-down, on to a serving plate.