Sticky pear & ginger cake with a cinnamon frosting

Jan 14, 2019 | Recipes

Sticky pear & ginger cake with cinnamon frosting

I was delighted to be invited back as a guest onto BBC Radio York for Bake of The Day. The theme was a traditional cake with a twist and so I began to think about which recipe I could use and how I could adapt it. The time of year was relevant , as even though people had probably over indulged at Christmas ,I felt there was still a desire to have cake that was warming and satisfying .

So what cakes are seasonal for January ? I knew I wanted to incorporate pears and I remembered my son’s favourite recipe  , a pear and cinnamon tray bake . After much researching I came up with multitudes of gingerbread recipes and that led me to thinking about how I could incorporate the pears . After all , pears and spices go hand in hand in baking , like a hand in a glove . The pivotal moment was the recipe for the cinnamon frosting , wow I had nailed it  and the result is this recipe , an amalgamation of 3 recipes rolled into one .

What you need :

A baking tin 31cm x 17cm ( this is the size I use but as long as the overall size is near to 527 cm square it doesn’t matter if the tin is square or rectangular )


241 g plain flour

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 level teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 heaped teaspoons ground ginger

pinch of ground cloves

¼ to ½ teaspoon salt

3 ripe pears (I used Conference pears)

2 eggs

226g light brown sugar

90g black treacle

118ml whole milk to make up the 125ml soured milk needed for the recipe

7ml lemon juice (approx. ½ lemons) to add to the milk above for the soured milk

100g unsalted butter, melted

For the cinnamon frosting:

115g softened butter

170g cream cheese

60g icing sugar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

What to do:

  1. Prepare the tin first. Line the tin , sides and bottom with greaseproof paper
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark
  3. Weigh out the plain flour , bicarb .of soda, ginger, cinnamon,cloves and salt and sift into a medium size mixing bowl

4.Prepare the pears – peel them, core them and then cut into small dice. They will keep their shape during cooking so they do need to be quite small. Keep them aside in a small bowl

5.To make the soured milk measure out 118ml of milk into a measuring jug then squeeze ½ lemon and measure out 7ml of the juice . Add this to the milk in the jug, whisking thoroughly. Leave to stand for 5 mins. When you lift the whisk out after 5 mins it should look like it has curdled , this is exactly what you want

6.Melt the butter in a small pan and once melted leave to cool otherwise it may curdle the eggs when added at the next stage

7.In a large mixing bowl, put the sugar, eggs and treacle (there is no easy way to measure out the treacle. I use my electronic scales and place a small bowl on them and weigh out the treacle then pour this into the other ingredients, it will be sticky! ) and then add the melted butter and then give the soured milk a final whisk and add this to the other ingredients

8.Beat all the ingredients together , I use a hand held electric whisk , and beat for about one minute , until they all well combined

9.Add, a third at a time , the flour, bicarb of soda, ginger , cinnamon,cloves and salt , folding in gently

10.Finally , add the pears , again folding in

11.Carefully pour into the baking tin and level out , don’t worry if there is the odd pear sticking up

12.Bake for approx. 40 to 45 mins depending on your oven, mine took 44 mins. A skewer needs to come out clean though when inserted in the centre

13.Leave to cool completely in the tin on a wire rack before lifting out and icing

For the cinnamon frosting

14.Beat the butter until smooth , this needs to be done before adding the cream cheese to prevent any lumps forming ( I do this in my food processor)

15.Add the cream cheese and mix again

16.Sift the icing sugar and cinnamon and add at intervals until all combined

17.Spread the frosting on top of the cake

18.Cut into portions


Notes : this is best made a couple of days in advance but the cake ,without the frosting, can also be frozen , defrosted then topped with the frosting


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