Simple Spiced Pear and Butterscotch Cake Recipe

1st October 2018 3 min read 2 Comments

This quick and simple spiced pear and butterscotch cake is beautifully autumnal. Ground almonds add a subtle nuttiness that really complements the spiced pear flavour. Delicious!

spiced pear and butterscotch cake

We have a September birthday ritual in our house.

Every year Graeme decides on a flavour or theme, and I bake him a birthday cake based around that. We’ve had all sorts over the years – doughnutBiscoff (possibly the prettiest cake I’ve ever made!), Malteser

This year I was tasked with pear and butterscotch. It sounded like a perfect seasonal combination! I was pretty pleased with how it came out, and since it’s National Cake Week I thought it would be fun to share the recipe with you.

This cake really is a doddle to make. It’s a basic sponge, but adding the sliced on fruit on top adds a dash of drama that makes it look like it took a lot more work than it actually did! My favourite type of bake.

sliced pears arranged on top of unbaked cake batter

The ground almonds add a subtle nuttiness to this cake that really complements the spiced pear flavour, and the whole thing just tastes so beautifully autumnal. This cake isn’t too sweet, but when you add the butterscotch it really comes to life! I recommend warming the butterscotch slightly before serving. We put the jar into a bowl of hot water for a few minutes, but a few seconds in a microwave would also work well.

I used fairly firm conference pears for this so that they were easy to slice thinly. They baked beautifully, but I think any pear that isn’t too soft would work well.

spiced pear and butterscotch cake recipe

I’m planning to make this again this week with apples since they’re coming into season now, and are everywhere this autumn. I think it would work beautifully with other fruits too – plums, blackberries, even cherries! A cherry and cinnamon version would be wonderful.

Spiced Pear & Butterscotch Cake

A cosy, spiced cake for autumn. Adapted from
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 8


For the cake:

  • 200 g / 7oz softened butter
  • 220 / 7.5oz caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 85 g / 3 oz plain (all purpose) flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 85 g / 3 oz almond meal
  • 2 ripe pears
  • 2 tsp caster sugar for finishing

For the butterscotch sauce:

  • 200 / 7oz  soft brown sugar
  • 50 / 2oz  butter
  • 250 ml  / 8fl oz / 1 cup cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a pinch of sea salt


For the cake:

  • Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4/175°C/350°F and grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and spices and set aside.
  • Cream together the softened butter and 220g of sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then fold in the flour mixture and ground almonds until everything is combined.
  • Spoon into prepared cake tin and level off the top.
  • Cut pears into quarters and remove the cores. Thinly slice each quarter, and arrange the slices over the top of the cake. Make sure that each slice overlaps slightly.
  • Sprinkle the top with the extra caster sugar.
  • Bake for about 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning cake out into a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, make the butterscotch sauce:

  • Add brown sugar, butter, cream, and vanilla to a pan. Place pan over a medium heat and stir until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for around five mintutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Taste and tweak, adding salt and more vanilla if needed!


  • Kate 20th September 2020 at 10:47 am

    There’s no flour in the ingredients list. Could you include it – it looks great.

    • Behind the Ivy 27th September 2020 at 4:08 pm

      Hi Kate,
      Thanks so much for letting me know! So sorry for missing that out. I’ve updated the recipe to include the quantity now – you’ll need 85g (3oz) of plain all purpose flour. Hope you enjoy the cake!

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