Sweet treats

Pear and bay cake recipe


For a fabulously fresh take on a slice of cake, try using subtle and fragrant flavours by baking with herbs. The perfect accompaniment to a cup of herbal tea! With this pear and bay cake, the savoury leaves soften the sweetness of the fruit, creating a wonderfully unusual, delicate cake.


    For the cake & filling

    • 200g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
    • 200g soft brown sugar
    • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 250g self-raising flour
    • 3 ripe pears, peeled, cored & chopped into 1cm dice
    • 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
    • 3 bay leaves, lightly crushed to release oils
    • ½ lemon, juice

    For the frosting

    • 2 tbsp butter
    • 50ml milk
    • 2 bay leaves, crushed, plus extra to decorate
    • 150g icing sugar


    1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
    2. Grease and line the bases of two 20cm cake tins with baking paper.
    3. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, gradually add in the egg followed by the flour, beating well until the mixture is fully combined. Divide between the prepared tins, smooth the tops then bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in their tins for 10 minutes, before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
    4. Whilst the cakes are baking make the filling by putting the chopped pears in a small pan with the sugar, bay leaves, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of water. Place over a gentle heat and cook until the pears have started to break down – this should take about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely and infuse. Remember to remove the bay leaves before using.
    5. To make the frosting put the butter, milk and bay leaves in a small pan over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer, by which point the butter will have melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool and infuse.
    6. Once cool, remove the bay leaves then slowly add in the icing sugar, beating until the frosting is smooth.
    7. To assemble the cake, sit one of the cakes on a stand or plate, spread the surface with a little frosting, then spoon over the pear and bay filling. Sandwich with the second cake and spread the remaining frosting over the top. Decorate with extra bay leaves.