This cake is lovely, moist and light, owing to the large amount of fruit. It’s also lightly sweetened, so it’s perfect to enjoy any time of day. For a special dessert, serve it topped with a dollop of whipped cream.   The original recipe is made with apples, but as I often do, I changed a few things. In my version, I use pears: sweet, ripe, juicy pears.    I also added some almond meal to complement the nutty, rich flavour of the olive oil.

Olive oil is a secret cake ingredient that I love to use. I frequently make chocolate olive oil cake, which is one of my favourite go-to recipes for cupcakes. Some will argue using olive oil in baking is “healthier,” making the baked good slightly better for you by supplying healthy fat and antioxidants.  But olive oil also adds depth of flavour.

Pear, Semolina and olive oil cake


  • ¼ cup honey (Raw Greek Attiki honey if you can)
  • ½ cup Respect extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tbsp, extra
  • 3 (about 750g) pears, peeled, cored, cut into 1cm pieces
  • ½ cup buckwheat flour
  • 80 g fine Olympian Semolina
  • 80 g almond meal
  • tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, rind finely grated
  • 1 (about 200g) pear, extra, cut into seven 2mm-thick slices
  • 1 tbsp natural sliced almonds
  • Warmed honey, extra, to serve (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan forced. Grease the base and side of a 22cm (base measurement) springform pan and double-line with baking paper.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons honey and extra 1 tablespoon oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add pear. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Combine the flour, semolina, almond meal and baking powder in a bowl. Use electric beaters to whisk the eggs, agave nectar, vanilla and remaining honey in a bowl for 5 minutes or until thick and tripled in volume.
  • With the beaters on medium-low, slowly add the oil in a thin, steady stream until combined. Beat in lemon rind. Use a large metal spoon to fold in pear mixture and semolina mixture, in 2 alternating batches, until just combined. Pour into prepared pan. Top with extra sliced pear, layering in centre in a circle. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake, covering with foil if over-browning, for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Drizzle with extra honey, if using.