The extra-virgin olive oil in this cake makes it deliciously moist and saves the effort of having to cream butter.


  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 large eggs

  • 185 ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

  • 300 g (101/2 oz/2 cups) self-raising flour

  • 115 g (4 oz/1/2 cup) caster (superfine) sugar

  • 3 pears, peeled, cored and cut into 2 cm (3/4 in) dice

  • 80 ml (21/2 fl oz/1/3 cup) caramelised verjuice (see Lyndey’s note)

  • Crème fraîche or thick (double/heavy) cream to serve


  • 1.

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

  • 2.

    Grease and line the base of a 22 cm (83/4 in) springform tin with baking paper.

  • 3.

    In a large pitcher, whisk the oil, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla together until well blended. Combine the self-raising flour and caster sugar in a large bowl. Pour the wet mixture over the dry and fold gently until just mixed. Stir through the pears.

  • 4.

    Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour or until the cake is cooked when a skewer inserted is removed dry with no clinging batter. Cool on a wire rack.

  • 5.

    To serve, warm the caramelised verjuice in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave and pour over the cooled cake. Serve the slices with crème fraîche or thick cream.

  • Lyndey’s note:

  • 1.

    If the pears are really fresh and ripe, there is no need to peel them before adding them to the cake batter. You could reduce pear or apple juice over high heat by half and use instead of the caramelised verjuice.

  • Drink choice:

  • 1.

    Tea or coffee is ideal but a sticky dessert wine, like a botrytised sémillon or other white grape, suits both the sweetness and fruit in the cake.


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