You will need

  • 115g plain flour
  • 35g Food Thoughts Cocoa Powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 60ml buttermilk
  • 60ml strong coffee
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 65g unsalted butter, melted
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large pear, cored and thinly sliced
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 45g cubed unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 60ml double cream, room temperature
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt


FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE: Add the sugar to a large saucepan and place it over a medium heat. Stir the sugar constantly with a wooden spoon as it starts to form clumps. As soon as it starts to melt, watch it carefully and keep stirring until it turns into an amber coloured liquid and the lumps disappear. Do not burn.

Once the colour reaches amber, whisk in the butter until melted and combined. Be careful as it will bubble furiously at this point.

When the butter is combined, slowly whisk in the double cream. It will bubble again, so be careful as you whisk and pour it in. Stop whisking once all the cream has been added and allow the mixture to boil for one minute.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the salt. Decant into a heatproof jar and set it aside to thicken and to cool to room temperature before using.

FOR THE CAKE: Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and flour a 25cm cast iron skillet and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Combine the buttermilk, coffee, and vanilla in a spouted measuring up and whisk well to combine. Set aside.

Add the melted butter, sugar, and eggs to a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat the ingredients on a medium speed for 3 minutes until slightly aerated.

Alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk mixture to the bowl in 5 parts, starting and ending with the dry ingredients and beating for a few seconds between each addition.

Once all the ingredients have been combined into the batter, give the bowl a little stir and scrape with a spatula to make sure nothing stuck to the bottom of the bowl. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet and level out the top.

Top the cake batter with the sliced pears in any pattern you like. Bake the cake on the middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the centre comes out with a few crumbs attached. It’s better to slightly undercook the cake than overcook since the residual heat from the pan will keep cooking the cake as it rests.

Allow the cake to cool for 25-30 minutes before serving warm from the skillet with the cooled caramel sauce.

NOTES: ● The caramel will keep sealed in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. ● Store any leftover cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. ● Any store-bought caramel sauce can be substituted for the homemade sauce in a time pinch.