How sweet are these lovely pear and vanilla cakes? They make a wonderful alternative to your morning muffin, or serve as an elegant afternoon tea treat. The aroma of baking pears and warm vanilla is heavenly!

Makes 12


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2 litres water
2 2/3 cups (370g) caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
12x 125g Beurre Bosc pears, peeled and cored

Vanilla cake

125 g butter, softened
2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups (190g) self-raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (125 ml) milk


1. Place the water, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Add the pears, cover with a round of non-stick baking paper and a lid, and cook for 25–30 minutes or until tender.

3. Drain on absorbent paper, set aside and allow to cool.

4. Preheat oven to 160°C. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8–10 minutes or until pale and creamy.

5. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla, beating well after each addition.

6. Fold in the flour and milk.

7. Line 12x 1 cup (250ml) capacity muffin tins with paper cases and spoon ¼ cup (60ml) of the mixture into each case.

8. Carefully push in the pears and bake for 30–35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

Recipe: Australian Pears

What’s your favourite morning tea treat?