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Sunken Pear and Black Gingerbread Cake

A delightfully autumnal recipe from Konditor & Cook. The sunken pear and black gingerbread cake is best served warm with a drizzle of fresh pouring cream.


Once the clocks go back and the nights draw in, we change our range of cakes at Konditor & Cook, with light summer bakes making way for autumnal and then Christmas recipes.

The sponge part of this recipe can be baked as a loaf cake or cupcakes. Combining it with caramelised pears, however, adds another dimension. Although the cake can be enjoyed with a cup of tea, the pears give it dessert status. Served warm, with a little pouring cream on the side, it is scrumptious and one of my favourites.

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250g plain flour
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g light soft brown sugar
200ml milk
175g salted butter, softened
175g black treacle
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
For the pears:
75g salted butter
150g light soft brown sugar
4 large or 6 small pears, such as Conference, peeled, quartered and cored

Essential kit

You will need an electric mixer and a 25cm cake tin.


Heat the oven to 150°C/Gas Mark 2. Line a 25cm cake tin with foil. If you only have narrow foil, criss-cross 2 sheets to make sure the sides are covered and that there is a lip of at least 1cm all round to contain any juices.

First cook the pears. Put the butter and soft brown sugar in a pan and heat gently until dissolved. Raise the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until it becomes a light caramel; it will look like an even, bubbling cauldron when it is ready. Pour the caramel into the foil-lined cake tin, then fan the pears out on top like a sunflower, with the rounded part of the pear facing downwards. Set aside.

To make the cake, sift the flour with the spices and bicarbonate of soda and set aside. Slowly heat the brown sugar and milk in a pan (you can use the one you used for the caramel). By the time you are ready to use the mixture, it should just be starting to simmer.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and treacle together until they become paler. Gradually beat in the eggs, then, using the mixer on slow speed, add the sifted flour and mix until it is all combined. Slowly and carefully add the hot milk mix and blend to a runny consistency.

Pour the mixture over the pears in the tin and bake for about an hour, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for an hour. Then turn the cake out upside down on to a cake board or flat plate and remove the foil. Be careful not to tear the pears away with the foil. You can avoid this by making a small cut in the foil in the centre of the cake, then gently peel away strips of foil from the centre, moving outwards.

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