- Preheat the oven to 160C (320F). Brush a large (25cm /10in) bundt tin with melted butter and dust with flour.
- Soak the dates in boiling water and leave to stand until softened – about 10 minutes.
- Either chop the pecans by hand or pulse them briefly in a food processor until coarsely ground.
- Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade (I used the Magimix for this) and mix until smooth.
- Thoroughly drain the dates through a sieve then add them to the food processor and pulse until smooth.
- Add the eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt and process until you have a smooth batter.
- Transfer the batter into a large bowl and fold in the pear and pecan pieces.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake for 50 minutes (I baked my cake for an hour) or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Cool slightly before carefully inverting onto a large plate.
- Make the toffee: put all the ingredients in a small pan and heat gently until sugar dissolves. Simmer briefly until you have a smooth sauce.
- Stir in the pecans (these are optional in my opinion) and then spoon the sauce over the cake.
Notes: if you don’t have a bundt tin you can bake this in a large traybake tin instead and adjust the cooking time to 40-50 minutes.
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