Ginger, Pear And Almond Cake (gluten free)

Trimming the pears Pears arranged on caramel
Ready to cook
Turned out


Notes: this is a great way to use hard pears if you have a pear tree and need to start dealing with the crop early; simply poach the pears for longer (e.g. 30 minutes).  Peeling and grating ginger can be a hassle but remember you're not actually eating the ginger so don't be too fussy when peeling and you can try using a food processor instead of a grater.  This cake could be served with cream or ice cream.

Serves 8.


For poaching the pears:

For the caramel:

For the cake mixture:


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds.
  3. Put the vanilla pod, the seeds from the vanilla pod and the grated ginger into a pan with the caster sugar and water; bring to the boil then simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Place the pears into the pan and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender, making sure to turn them so that all sides are exposed to the hot juices.
  5. Remove the poached pears and set aside to cool.
  6. Cut a circle of greaseproof paper to line the base of a 25 cm flan dish, or cake tin with sprung sides.
  7. Grease the side of the cake tin.
  8. Start making the caramel by boiling the caster sugar and water in a pan on max heat until it begins to turn golden brown; try to leave the mixture alone, it will only turn brown at the very end.
  9. Stir the butter into the mixture in the pan.
  10. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and ensure that it covers the base evenly.
  11. Take each pear and cut into quarters length-ways, then use a sharp knife to remove the semi-circle of hard, seedy core from each segment.
  12. Slice each pear quarter into three length-ways and arrange all the slices of all the pears in the caramel in a nice geometric pattern.
  13. Start making the cake mixture by beating the butter and sugar together.
  14. Add the eggs to the mixture, beating between each one.
  15. Stir the ground almonds into the mixture.
  16. Pour the mixture over the pears and caramel, doing it carefully so as not to disturb your elegant pattern of pears.
  17. Cook in the oven for between 30 and 60 minutes (depends how big your pears were, misses), until firm to the touch; you will find that it needs to be quite brown before it is firm, but that's OK as this will be the bottom of the cake - rest some foil over the top if you think it is getting too brown.
  18. Leave to cool for a little while then turn the cake upside-down on a plate to serve.

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