The sweetness of the pears complements the subtle floral flavour of saffron in this golden cake. Olive oil makes it soft, with a delicate crumb. Serve this for afternoon tea or even as dessert after dinner
Cooking InstructionsDownload PDF
Grind the saffron with 1 tsp of sugar and place it in a small jar. Add the warm water and cover with a lid and leave it at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease and flour a 22cm round cake tin.
To make the purée, peel, core and roughly chop 400g (approx. 2-3) pears.
Toss in the lemon juice and place in a non-stick pan, with the butter, 40g of sugar and the salt.
Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the pears start releasing their juices. The juices will start evaporating as you keep cooking and stirring, eventually leaving the caramelised sticky pear pieces.
Place the pears in a blender and blitz until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Finely slice 150g pears (approx. 1-2) and arrange on a plate, place in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until slightly cooked and pliable. You may have to do this in batches. Set aside to cool completely.
To make the syrup, place all the ingredients for it in a small pot or pan and place over a medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until the sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the steeped saffron, oil, eggs and 260g of the remaining sugar and beat on high until pale and fluffy. Mix in the pear purée.
Sieve in the flour, salt, baking powder and mixed spice. Mix until smooth and combined.
Pour the batter into the tin, then arrange the pear slices on top.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer placed in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool for 30 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter.
Drizzle the saffron syrup over the cake and serve with a dollop of yoghurt.