Pear Butter Cake

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    10–12

Appears in

This is rich and delicious and you can use just about any fruit you like. Serve it in a bowl with a bit of warm custard or a dollop of thick cream — or the way I like it, which is completely on its own. You can use buttermilk instead of the cream or just milk. Leave out the spices if you like something plainer, or add a little more if you prefer your cake spicier.

Ingredients

  • 180 g( oz) butter, softened
  • 150 g( oz/ cup) caster (superfine) sugar, plus tablespoons for the top
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
  • a good pinch of ground cardamom
  • a large pinch of nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 220 g( oz/ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 125 ml(4 fl oz/½ cup) pouring (single) cream
  • 4 small ripe pears, about 700 g(1 lb 9 oz)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and grease a 24 cm( inch) springform cake tin.

Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the vanilla, lemon rind, cardamom and nutmeg and then add the eggs one by one, beating well after each one. Add the sifted flour and baking powder alternately with the cream and mix until you have a smooth batter.

Scrape out every drop into the cake tin. You don’t need to be particular about levelling the surface because it will spread evenly during the baking. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel, quarter and core the pears. Take the cake from the oven and quickly scatter the pears over the top. Sprinkle with the tablespoons of sugar. Return to the oven and bake for another 45 minutes or so more, until the pears are lovely and golden in places, the cake is crusty and a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean.

Cool slightly before cutting and serving warm or at room temperature. Keep the cake covered tightly with foil, so that it doesn’t harden and you can then warm it through to serve.