Make the most of the seasonal pears in the garden and greengrocer this autumn. This wonderful, warming cake recipe makes a fabulous autumn pudding or an indulgent, sticky cake for afternoon tea.
- 250g stoned dates – finely chopped
- 300ml milk
- 100g butter, plus a little extra to grease the tin
- 140g ginger preserve
- 140g dark muscovado sugar
- 3 large ripe pears – peeled and chopped into large chunks
- 175g self-raising flour
- 50g pecan nuts; keep a handful whole and chop the rest
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon mixed spice
- 2 eggs beaten
1 Put the chopped dates in a pan with the milk, butter, ginger preserve and dark muscovado sugar.
2 Heat gently until the butter has melted and the mixture starts to bubble around the edges of the pan. Stir well and set aside for an hour to cool.
3 Heat the oven to 180C/350F Gas Mark 4 (fan oven 160C/320F). Line the base of a buttered 10-inch (23cm) cake tin with baking parchment.
3 Mix the flour, chopped pecans and bicarb with the spices, and then stir into the cooled date mixture with the eggs.
4 Pour into the tin and scatter over the pears. Roughly break the reserved pecans and drop on top.
5 Bake for 40 minutes and then cover loosely with foil. Return to the oven for 25-30 mins more until cooked. It may look a little wet around the pears. Use a skewer to check.
6 Remove the cooked cake onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.