I have the immense privilege of calling Vicky Crease a friend. Not only is Vicky an award winning caterer and genius food stylist, she also happens to be God Mother to one of my daughters! You can imagine the anxiety of taking a hostess gift to the ultimate hostess! Vicky recently invited us to her beautifully stylish home for an epic lunch and I thought to make her an elegant cake,  full of heavenly flavours. I decided on this rich, honey-scented sponge studded with sweetly caramalized  pear. It is a bit complicated but the end result is so sublime, you’ll be happy you made the effort!

Ingredients

For the Caramalised Pears

  • 3 pears
  • 20g butter
  • 60g honey
  • 40g caster sugar

For the sponge

  • 4 large eggs
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 40g soft brown sugar
  • 120ml buttermilk
  • 120g honey
  • 120ml vegetable oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 280g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp salt

For the Cream Cheese Icing

  • 500g icing sugar
  • 100g butter , softened
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 50g honey

 Method

Preheat the oven to 170°c

  1. Start with the pears. Peel & core the fruit, cutting each one into about 12 thin wedges. Place the ingredients for the caramel into a saucepan and melt together over a medium heat. Add the pears and simmer until the pears are cooked ( not mushy). Set aside
  2. Cream together the eggs and sugar/s until light and fluffy ( I used my beautiful Kitchen Aid Free standing Mixer to do this) In a seperate jug, mix the buttermilk, honey, oil and zest. Pour this liquid into the egg mixture whilst mixing on low speed
  3. Sift the dry ingredients, add to the liquid amd mix until well incorporated
  4. Divide the batter between 2 prepared cake tins and top with the cooked pear slices, laying them in an evenly spaced circle
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before icing the cake
  6. For the icing, mix the butter and icing sugar until there are no big lumps. Add the cream cheese and honey and continue to mix until well incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat the icing until it is light & fluffy.
  7. Ice the cake and decorate with crystalized fruits*

*See @likehome_ 21/05 of how to do this