Tilly Pamment’s Spiced Pear & Semolina Cake Recipe

Spiced Pear & Semolina CakeSpiced Pear & Semolina Cake
Menu item
Serves 10 people
20cm (8 inch) cake tin
Prep time
Cook Time

Combining the warmth of spiced pears with the rustic charm of semolina. This delightful recipe for Spiced Pear & Semolina Cake is a true gem from the pages of “The Plain Cake Appreciation Society” by Tilly Pamment.

If you’re ready to infuse your home with the sweet aroma of baking and indulge in a slice of comforting goodness, this recipe is a must-try. Serve at room temperature with a cup of tea, or warm with a puddle of cream for a more pudding-y vibe.

Images and text from The Plain Cake Appreciation Society by Tilly Pamment, photography by Tilly Pamment. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.


The Plain Cake Appreciation Society
The Plain Cake Appreciation Society

Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons chai tea leaves
  • 125 g (4½ oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 165 g (5¾ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2 eggs
  • 75 g (2½ oz) self-raising flour
  • 100 g (3½ oz) fine semolina
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • pinch of salt
  • 150 g (5½ oz) Greek-style yoghurt
  • 2 small beurre bosc pears

Chai Syrup Ingredients:

  • 55 g (2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chai tea leaves
  • 3 tablespoons boiling water


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F) fan-forced. Grease a 20 cm (8 inch) round springform tin with butter and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Place the 2 teaspoons of chai tea leaves in a small spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind until fine. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until very light and fluffy. Add the ground chai and beat again briefly. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Place the flour, semolina, baking powder, cardamom and salt in a separate bowl and whisk together to combine. Add half to the creamed butter mixture, stirring gently, before adding the yoghurt. Once the yoghurt is incorporated, follow with the remaining flour mixture, stirring gently until combined. Spoon the batter into the tin, smoothing the top and tapping the tin gently on the bench a few times to remove any air bubbles.
  5. Slice the pears in half and scoop out the cores. Slice each pear half thinly, leaving 2 cm (¾ inch) intact at the top. Fan the slices out and place them gently on top of the cake batter. Bake in the oven for 45–50 minutes or until the cake is golden and cooked through. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so while you make the chai syrup.
  6. For the chai syrup, place the sugar and tea leaves in a small saucepan along with the boiling water. Cook over medium heat until boiling, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5–10 minutes or until glossy and slightly thickened. Strain the syrup, discarding the tea leaves.
  7. Remove the cake from the tin and brush with the hot syrup. Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving.
  8. While best eaten on the day it is made, this cake keeps happily in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or two – just return to room temperature before serving.

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