Recipe: Citrus Pear Cake with Ginger Mascarpone Icing

This is what happens when your pears are rock hard and show no sign of ripening, just poach them and make cake. This light, soft cake is beautiful with the pears and ginger icing. The pears will sink to the bottom of the cake but everything remains moist and delicious and full of flavour.
Recipe: Citrus Pear Cake with Ginger Mascarpone Icing

Citrus Pear Cake with Ginger Mascarpone Icing by Mercy Fenton

Citrus Pear Cake with Ginger Mascarpone Icing

Poached Pears


5 or 6 pears

1 cup caster sugar

1 star anise

2 cups water, or enough to just cover the pears.

Juice of 1 lemon (Keep the zest for the cake)


  • Put the sugar, star anise and juice in a pot that will just fit the pears comfortably.
  • Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Peel the pears, quarter and scoop out the core, lay them in a pot so they are covered in liquid.
  • Cover with a disk of parchment paper and a lid.
  • Bring back to the boil slowly, reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes until the pears are barely tender.
  • Turn off the heat and allow them to cool in the cooking liquor.

Cake ingredients

250gr light brown sugar

65ml olive oil

3 large free-range eggs

30ml milk

2 tsps. vanilla essence

120gr cream flour

84gr ground almonds

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp cinnamon

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

A pinch of salt

3 to 4 medium poached pears drained well


  • Pre-heat the oven to 165C.
  • Grease the base and sides of a 10-inch spring form tin and line the base with parchment paper.
  • Sift together the dry ingredients, i.e. almonds, baking powder, flour, salt and cinnamon.
  • Whisk together the oil, egg, vanilla, zests and milk.
  • Whisk together the dry and wet ingredients until smooth and scrape into the prepared tin.
  • Carefully arrange the pears on top.
  • Place the tin on a flat oven tray and place in the centre of the oven.
  • Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean and the top is golden and firm.
  • The pears will most likely sink, but that’s OK.
  • Once cooked, allow to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before releasing from the tin and allowing to cool on a wire wrack, remove the parchment paper disk.
  • Allow to completely cool before cutting in half horizontally and finishing with the ginger icing.

Mascarpone and ginger icing


150gr butter at room temperature

150gr mascarpone cream cheese

120gr icing sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

10gr finely chopped stem ginger


  • Using the spade attachment of an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, and carefully add the icing sugar in batches, beat well between each addition, until light and fluffy.
  • Next add the mascarpone, beat gently until combined and fluffy. Don’t over-beat or it may curdle.
  • Spread just over 1/3 frosting on the base layer of the cake.
  • Lift the second layer on top.
  • Spread the remaining frosting over both the top and sides of the cake using a step spatula. Chill for about 20 minutes.
  • Decorate with a sprinkling of cinnamon or some fine slices of stem ginger.

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