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5 from 1 vote

Ginger cake with wine poached pears and cream cheese frosting

Embrace autumn with this gorgeously spiced ginger layer cake topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting and wine-poached pears.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Ginger cake
Servings: 10
Author: Lucy Parissi


For the cake

  • 350 g 12.3oz | 2 3/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 330 g 11.6oz | 1 2/3 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 200 g 7oz | 3/4 cup + 1 heaped tbsp unsalted butter cubed
  • 200 ml 7fl oz | 3/4cup + 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 orange zest only
  • 4 tbsp crystallised stem ginger finely diced

For the frosting

  • 560 g 19oz | full-fat cream cheese
  • 200 ml 7fl oz | 3/4cup + 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 150 g 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the poached pears

  • 5 firm pears peeled
  • 1 bottle Merlot wine (750ml)
  • 450 g 16oz | sugar
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • Strip orange peel


  • Put the wine, sugar and spices into a deep saucepan and heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Add the pears and weigh down with a small plate.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes then carefully remove to a plate and cool. Slice thinly, removing any seeds.
  • Continue simmering the peaching liquid until it is reduced to a viscous syrup. Strain and transfer to a jar to cool.
  • Add 100ml of water to the cavity in the bottom of your AEG Steambake oven, set the oven to ‘True Fan Cooking’ press the ‘SteamBake’ button and set the temperature to 160°C.
  • Spray two 18cm (7in) cake tins with cake release and line the bottoms with baking paper.
  • Sift all the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to combine.
  • Add the cubed butter and mix for a couple of minutes until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
  • Gradually add the eggs and honey while mixing on medium speed.
  • Add the milk and zest and beat on medium speed for a minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl. Continue mixing for a couple of minutes at maximum speed until batter is smooth.
  • Fold 3 tbsp of the chopped ginger into the batter and divide between the cake tins.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Cool in the tins for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  • Put all the ingredients for the frosting into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  • Start mixing on lowest speed setting until combined then increase the speed to medium-high until you have firm peaks. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.
  • Use a wire cake cutter to level the top of the cakes. Carefully slice each layer in two.
  • Place the bottom cake layer, smooth-side down on a cake platter or stand. Pipe a layer of frosting over it and top with pear slices. Drizzle with some of the poaching syrup.
  • Repeat the process with the second and third cake layers topping with the fourth, smooth side up.
  • Pipe frosting over the top of the cake and decorate with half a pear, sliced and fanned out. Drizzle with more syrup and top with the remaining chopped ginger.