225 grams butter, very soft but not melted
½ cup caster sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground mixed spice
2 tablespoons glace mixed peel, finely chopped*
4 medium, firm but ripe pears
125 grams dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons raw sugar
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake
Beat the butter for 2 minutes until pale then add both sugars and the vanilla and beat again until very light and pale. Gradually beat in the eggs then beat in the milk.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and mixed spice in a bowl.
Stir in the mixed peel until it’s all coated in the flour and not clumped together then gently beat into the butter mixture.
Peel, quarter and core two of the pears and cut into 1cm pieces. Set a third of the chopped chocolate aside for the top of the loaf.
Add the remaining chocolate and the diced pears to the batter and fold everything together. The batter will be very thick. Spoon into the tin and gently press it down to an even layer.
Bake for 25 minutes. Peel, halve and core the remaining two pears and cut each one into 8 wedges. Take the cake out of the oven and quickly arrange the pear wedges on top (you might not need them all) and scatter over the remaining chocolate and the raw sugar.
Place back in the oven and bake for another 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for at least one hour before removing.
To serve: Dust with icing sugar and serve plain or with a bowl of softly whipped cream or thick plain yoghurt. Makes 1 loaf.
*Glace mixed peel is available in packets in the baking aisle at supermarkets. I like to chop it finer so it’s evenly distributed through the loaf.