Pecan, Pear and Apricot Cake

A gorgeously moist cake with crunchy nut pieces throughout – a great texture. The three key flavours also combine wonderfully to create a great overall taste.

Serves: 10 – 12

Time: 90 – 100 mins + cooling time

Difficulty: Quite easy

Equipment: 2 x 20cm/8” round cake tins

Credits: Adapted from a recipe by Clare Llewellyn West in the first Clandestine Cake Club book


Caramelised Pears

  • 2 firm pears, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 25 – 30g butter
  • 45 – 60g brown sugar
  • Cake

  • 60g pecan nuts, chopped
  • 60g pears – peeled, cored and chopped
  • 60g dried apricots, chopped
  • 225g plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 225g softened butter or margarine
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 60g soft dark brown sugar
  • 4 large or 5 medium eggs
  • Filling & Topping

    • 100g butter
    • 100g full fat cream cheese
    • 300g icing sugar
    • 2 – 3 tbsp fruit juice (if needed)
    • 4 – 5 tbsp apricot jam, warmed and sieved
    • 8 pecan halves


    1. Begin by caramelising the pears. Heat a large frying pan or saucepan on medium heat and melt the butter then add the pears, cut side down. Cook until they are slightly golden brown (about 5 minutes)

    2. Add the brown sugar and continue cooking until they are caramelised (another 5 minutes). Drain and set aside to use later.

    3. Pre-heat the oven to 170C/fan 150C/Gas 3 – 4. Grease and line the two tins.

    4. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, then take out a tbsp. and use to toss and coat the fruit pieces.

    5. Add the baking powder and cinnamon to the flour and mix together well. Beat in the butter, sugars and eggs until smooth. Gently stir in the fruit and nuts. Divide the mixture equally between the two tins.

    6. Bake for 25 – 35 mins, until well risen, firm & beginning to shrink back from the sides of the tins. Leave in the tin for 5 – 10 mins then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully.

    7. Meanwhile make the buttercream. Beat the butter until smooth, add the cream cheese and continue beating. Gradually add and beat in the icing sugar. Add enough fruit juice to achieve a soft creamy consistency. (You may not need very much, if any at all. Take care not to make it too runny.)

    8. To assemble the cake spread a layer of warmed and sieved apricot jam over one side of each cake then sandwich them together using half the buttercream mixture.

    9. Use the remaining buttercream to cover the cake then top it with the caramelised quartered pears and pecan halves, possibly alternating around the top.