This comforting spicy cake is a great one for the cool months when pears are in season. The fact that it is gluten-free is incidental – the almond meal gives the cake a satisfying density and nutty richness. If it doesn't have to be gluten-free, you can use normal baking powder. Use firm pears, not ripe ones; it doesn't matter which variety. For the cardamom cream, you need a thermometer for this method.
Gluten-free spiced pear cake
3 firm pears, cored and sliced into thin wedges
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom powder
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground ginger
200g castor sugar
200g unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder (or plain)
200g almond meal
10 egg yolks
250g castor sugar
1 vanilla bean, sliced in half and seeds scraped
10 cardamom pods
Preheat oven to 200C. Line a 28-centimetre round springform baking tin with baking paper, and grease the sides with butter.
In a medium-sized bowl, add the pears, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and ginger. Toss well and arrange in a spiral on the base of the baking tin.
In an electric mixer, add the castor sugar and butter and beat on high until pale, light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one by one then add the baking powder and almond meal.
Pour the mixture carefully over the pears in the tin. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean, then let it cool in the tin.
Once cool, turn upside down and release from the spring form. If the baking paper sticks to the top, remove it. Serve with cardamom cream or plain whipped cream.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and honey until pale and creamy.
Put a medium-sized saucepan on a high heat and add the vanilla bean, milk, cream and cardamom pods. Bring to the boil then pour over the eggs.Whisk until well combined.
Pour everything back into the saucepan and put on a low heat. Stirring constantly, use a thermometer to check the temperature. The mixture must be stirred constantly or the eggs will scramble. Once the mixture reaches 82C, immediately take it off the heat and pour into a bowl. Let the anglaise cool then serve with the pear cake.
The best way to remove the cake from the springform tin is to soak a tea towel in boiling hot water and place it over the base of the tin while turned upside down. This melts the butter and helps the cake separate more easily from the tin.