Makes 1 cake
A modern take on an old fashioned stunner! Can be served as a cake or a dessert. Use small pears and slice them paper-thin. The baking paper lining in the base of the cake tin is essential for turning the cake out neatly.
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Vanilla Cake

You will need

5 small pears
2 T (30 ml) sugar
1 T (15 ml) water
1 t (5 ml) lemon juice

3 T (45 ml) butter, melted
3 T (45 ml) brown sugar
½ t (2,5 ml) cinnamon
remaining sliced pears

3 extra large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup (125 ml) canola oil
½ cup (125 ml) pear or apple juice
1 pear, coarsely grated
1 x 600 g Ina Paarman’s Vanilla Cake Mix
1 T (15 ml) cinnamon
½ t (2,5 ml) ground nutmeg
¼ t (1 ml) ground cloves



Slice the pears lengthways with skin and pips, very thinly on an electric slicing machine or a hand held mandolin slicer, about as thick as a R1 coin. Select 10 – 12 of the very best middle slices. Reserve the rest for the fruit layer of the cake.
Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat the oven to 120°C.
Melt the sugar, water and lemon juice together in the microwave and brush the best 10 – 12 slices on both sides with the sugar syrup.
Pack the slices out on a cooling tray covered with baking paper.
Dry out at 120°C for about 20 minutes – just keep an eye on them, they must look like the ones in our photo.

Fruit layer and cake

Increase oven temperature to 180°C.
Line the base of a 24 cm round and 5 cm deep cake tin with baking paper. Brush the paper very generously with the butter, go a little up the sides as well.
Sprinkle an even layer of a mixture of the sugar and cinnamon over the buttered base. Pour any leftover butter out onto the sugar.
Pack the remaining uncooked sliced pears overlapping in rows to cover the base of the pan. Radiate out from the centre. Beat eggs and oil for 1 minute on high speed until well blended. Add pear juice and grated pear and beat for 1 minute on high speed.
Add contents of pack and spices and blend in with a spatula until combined. Scrape mixture into prepared tin. Bake on middle shelf for ± 1 hour and 10 minutes. Switch off the oven, open the door about 2 cm and leave the cake to cool down in the warm oven for at least ½ hour, otherwise it tends to sag in the middle. Slip a knife around the inside rim of the pan to loosen the cake. Turn out the cake onto a cooling rack and carefully peel away the baking paper. Garnish with dried pear slices.