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Pear and raspberry cake

Great for Easter Sunday tea

Rather than a traditional Simnel cake made with dried fruit and marzipan, this version uses fresh raspberries, sliced pears and a little diced marzipan for that traditional flavour.

Serves 8-10

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes – 1 hour 25 minutes


2 ripe pears, about 300 g (11 oz) in total, peeled, cored, sliced

1 lemon, grated rind and juice

200 g (7 oz) butter, at room temperature

200 g (7 oz) caster sugar

200 g (7 oz) self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 eggs

150 g (5 oz) raspberries, plus extra to decorate (Optional)

150 g (5 oz) readymade marzipan, diced


Raspberry sauce (optional)

150 g (5 oz) raspberries

2 tablespoons caster or icing sugar

Juice of ½ lemon


Little sifted icing sugar to decorate


  1. Grease and base line a 23 cm (9 inch) springform tin with a circle of greaseproof or non-stick baking paper. Toss the pear slices in the lemon juice to stop them going brown. 
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon rind together in a bowl until light and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder. Beat 1 egg into the butter mixture then a spoonful or two of the flour and beat again until smooth, continue until all the eggs and flour have been added.
  4. Spoon half the cake mixture into the cake tin and spread into an even layer. Arrange half the pears on top, sprinkle with half the raspberries and half the marzipan. Spoon over the remaining cake mixture and repeat the layers.
  5. Bake at 160°C / 325°F / Gas mark 3 for 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes until the cake is well risen and a skewer will come out cleanly when inserted into the centre. Cover with foil after 50-60 minutes if the cake seems to be browning too quickly.
  6. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then loosen the edge and unclip the side of the tin and remove. Transfer cake to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes if serving warm or longer if serving cold.
  7. To make the sauce, puree the raspberries in a food processor or liquidiser with the sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Press through a sieve and discard the seeds then pour into a jug.
  8. Peel the paper off the base of the cake, put on to a serving plate, decorate with extra raspberries, if liked then dust the top with icing sugar. Cut into wedges and serve with a drizzle of sauce, if liked.


If you’re not a fan of marzipan or have someone in the family with a nut allergy, then add 150 g (5 oz) cream cheese and dot teaspoonfuls over the cake as you layer up the pears and raspberries.