Pear and Vanilla Cake with Custard

Pear and Vanilla Cake with Custard Recipe

This vanilla cake is brightened with lemon zest and topped with a fine wreath of pears, which caramelizes beautifully in the oven. But there’s more: homemade custard, to be poured warm and generously with each wedge of cake.–Bill Granger

Pear and Vanilla Cake with Custard Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • Serves 6 to 8


  • For the custard
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar (or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery)
  • For the cake
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • 1 1/3 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 pears
  • 3/4 ounce unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar


  • Make the custard
  • 1. Gently heat the milk, cream, and vanilla in a small saucepan. Whisk the egg yolks, egg and sugar together in a small bowl, then whisk in the milk mixture until smooth.
  • 2. Transfer to a small saucepan and stir over a low heat for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, cover, and keep warm.
  • Make the cake
  • 3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • 4. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat for another minute. Add the cream and mix until smooth. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt and beat until smooth.
  • 5. Pour into a 9-inch non-stick springform cake tin and smooth the surface. Peel and core the pears, cut into 1/8-inch slices, and arrange on the batter in two concentric circles. Brush the pears with melted butter, then sprinkle with the raw sugar.
  • 6. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean and the pears on top are lightly browned. Remove the side from the cake tin and slide the cake onto a plate.
  • 7. Cool slightly before slicing. Serve with custard.
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