Spiced Pear Cake

This Spiced Pear Cake has been on my to do list for the last two years and I just needed to bake it before we are full on in Spring and there are no more pears to cook and bake with.

Spiced Pear Cake

The first time I ate the cake was at a Spier Secret Dinner in 2013. The cake was part of Errieda du Toit’s elaborate and totally delicious dessert spread that evening. I got home and searched for the recipe by Yvette van Boven and it has been on that to do list ever since. It is a beautiful cake, very easy to make and fit for any kind of celebratory dessert or tea time treat and a must bake when pears are in season.

Spiced Pear Cake


I tweaked the recipe slightly as I am not too fond of cardamon and replaced the spice in the batter with vanilla extract but kept it in the poaching liquid. As I also replaced the white chocolate drizzle with milk chocolate as that was what I had in the cupboard at the time.

Spiced Pear Cake

Spiced Pear Cake


  • 3 medium-sized firm pears, peeled with the stem left on
  • 750ml dry white wine
  • 250g sugar
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • For the cake:
  • 200g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g white chocolate, in chunks


  1. Poach the pears:
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the pears, wine, sugar, cloves, star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon and poach for 30 minutes over low heat
  3. Take the pears out of the liquid and set aside to cool
  4. Add 500ml water to the poaching liquid and boil to reduce the liquid by half. Set aside and let cool
  5. Make the cake:
  6. Preheat the oven to 170°C
  7. Grease 1.5l loaf pan and line it with baking paper and grease the baking paper
  8. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy
  9. Beat in the eggs one at the time and beat well after each addition
  10. Add the vanilla extract and beat well
  11. Sift the flour and salt over the batter and fold it in
  12. Spoon the batter into the pan
  13. Press the pears in, stem end up
  14. Bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake part comes out clean
  15. Allow to cool in the pan, then gently remove the cake from the pan to a rack to cool completely
  16. Before serving, set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water
  17. Stir the chocolate in the bowl until melted
  18. Using a spoon, drizzle the chocolate over the cake and create nice stripes on top
  19. Let the chocolate dry for a bit and serve the cake in thick slices, with the reduced pear syrup poured on top
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27 September is our next Food Photography Workshop as part of my collaboration with Francois Pistorius and Isabella Niehaus. Join us for an inspired and creative day in the most beautiful location up on the West Coast. We still have a few spots left – leave a comment or send a message if you’d like to attend.



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