Although delicious when made with pears, this cake can be made with any of your favourite fruits, such as plums, peaches or pineapple.

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3. 
  2. Grease a 23cm (9 inch) cake tin and line the bottom with non-stick baking (parchment) paper. 
  3. Melt 75g of the butter in a small saucepan. Add the muscovado sugar and leave for 2–3 minutes, until dissolved and starting to combine. Pour the caramel into the prepared tin. 
  4. Arrange the pear wedges on top of the caramel then set aside. 
  5. Put the caster sugar and eggs in a large bowl and whisk until pale and thick enough for the beaters to make a figure of eight on the surface. 
  6. Sift the flour and baking powder over the egg mixture and gently fold together. Melt the remaining butter and add to the bowl, then pour in the milk and vanilla extract. 
  7. Mix thoroughly. 
  8. Pour the batter over the pears and bake for 1–1¼ hours, until the cake is firm to the touch and springs back when lightly pressed. 
  9. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then carefully turn it out, peel off the lining paper and serve warm or cold with a dollop of cream or ice-cream.