3 large ripe pears, peeled and each cut into 8 slices (hold in iced lemon water if not using immediately after peeling)
For the cake:
100 grams butter, at room temperature
100 grams dark brown muscovado sugar
100 millilitres ginger syrup from stem ginger jar
150 grams self raising flour
150 grams dark rye flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
80 grams stem ginger in syrup, drained weight, finely chopped
50 grams pecan nuts, chopped
For the caramel sauce
80 millilitres double cream
Simmer the dates with the milk for 10 minutes until soft, thenmix to a paste and leave to cool.
Butter the cake tin tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.
Melt the butter and sugar in a large frying pan over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Peel the pears and cut each into 8 slices. Put straight into the caramel and cook over a low heat for 8-10 minutes, turning carefully, until golden and just starting to soften. Remove with a slotted spoon and arrange in a neat pattern on the bottom of the lined cake tin. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the caramel over the pears, then put the tin into the fridge. Save the leftover caramel sauce in the pan for later.
Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 180/160C fan. Put the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until pale. Add the eggs one at a time, then the ginger syrup and date paste. Once well mixed, add the flours, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon and salt. Fold together then add the chopped ginger and pecans and mix through. Scrape the mixture into the cake tin - taking care not to disturb the pattern you have made with the pears. Smooth over and bake for 50 - 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out with just a few sticky crumbs. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then carefully invert onto a serving plate and remove the tin and greaseproof paper. Leave to cool for at least another 30 minutes before serving warm, or or at room temperature.
Make the caramel sauce: Re-heat the leftover caramel sauce in the same pan. Don’t let it come to a boil. Once it’s warmed through, add in the double cream and whisk together for one minute, then it take off the heat and transfer to a warmed serving jug. Serve slices of the cake with warm caramel sauce poured over.