Pear and Polenta Cake

Note: This makes a very large cake. For a 20cm cake tin, make approx 3/4 of this mix (quantities below)

  • 3 pears
  • 4 eggs
  • 380g dark brown sugar
  • 2tsp vanilla essence
  • 250mL white wine
  • 250mL sunflower oil
  • 310g plain flour
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 120g fine polenta
  • apricot jam (for glaze)


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 120mL lemon juice

Preheat oven to 160˚C (convection).

Prepare the tin: butter it heavily, then sprinkle on two extra teaspoons of dark brown sugar over the base. Peel and core the pears, and slice into four or five slices. Arrange on the bottom of the pan.

Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until they are very light and creamy. Add the wine and oil and mix in gently. Sift the plain flour and baking powder and fold in gently. Add the polenta and mix gently again.

Pour the mixture carefully into the pan so as not to disturb the pears. Bake for about 80 minutes or until the cake is firm in the middle. (Non-convection oven will take longer.)

While the cake is baking, make the syrup by combining ingredients in a saucepan and bringing to the boil.

When the cake comes out of the oven, tip it upside down onto a serving plate, prick it lightly, and pour the warm syrup over.

Finish the cake by covering with apricot glaze (warmed and sieved apricot jam), and garnish with fine shreds of lemon rinds cooked in a syrup until tender.


  • 2 pears
  • 3 eggs
  • 280g dark brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 190mL white wine
  • 190mL sunflower oil
  • 230g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 90g fine polenta


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 90mL lemon juice