This recipe is autumnal PEAR-fection… Pears are in season right now, and are tasting delicious, and this cake is a great way to use them up. It makes a great alternative to a crumble after Sunday lunch, or just keep at home and enjoy with a cuppa.
For the pears
750g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 strips of lemon zest, use a lemon peeler
1 star anise
1 small thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped roughly
4 ripe pears, pealed
For the spiced loaf
200g unsalted butter
80g dark brown soft sugar
2 large free-range eggs
200g self-raising flour
1tsp mixed spice
For the poached pears
- In a pan big enough to hold the pears snugly, tip in all the ingredients except the pears. Half fill the pan with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 mins to infuse all the spices, then drop in the pears, cover and gently poach for about 30 mins until soft. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool completely.
Spiced loaf cake mix
- Put honey, butter and brown sugar into a pan; melt together over low heat. When sugar has dissolved, turn up heat. Leave to bubble for 1min. Take off the heat and leave to cool for 15min.
- Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin with baking parchment. Mix the eggs into the butter pan.
- Next, sift the flour, mixed spice and cinnamon into a large bowl and add the butter mixture. Mix well, then pour into the prepared tin. Add the whole pears along the centre of the cake tin, pushing them down just before the bottom of the tin.
- Bake for 40-50min or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Leave cake to cool for 5min in the tin, then take out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream, clotted cream, or crème fraîche.