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Neil Perry: Olive oil and sauternes cake with roast pears

Australian Gourmet Traveller and Neil Perry dessert recipe for olive oil and sauternes cake with roast pears

By Neil Perry
  • Serves 8
Olive oil and sauternes cake with roast pears
Olive oil and sauternes cake with roast pears

"I first baked an olive oil cake out of the Chez Panisse pastry book and have loved making them ever since. We have paired this one with pears, and a wonderful match it is. You could, however, just serve it with a little whipped cream." - Neil Perry

Recipe from Good Food by Neil Perry (Murdoch Books).


Roast pears
  • 4 beurre bosc pears, halved or quartered lengthways, core removed, stem intact
  • 80 ml Sauternes dessert wine (1/3 cup)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 115 gm caster sugar (½ cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 185 ml olive oil (¾ cup)
  • 125 ml Sauternes dessert wine (½ cup)
  • 80 ml milk (1/3 cup)
  • 2 lemons, finely grated zest only
  • 185 gm plain flour (1½ cups)
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
Sauternes syrup
  • 115 gm caster sugar (½ cup)
  • 125 ml Sauternes dessert wine (½ cup)


  • 1
    Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the pears in a roasting tin, drizzle with the wine and oil and sprinkle with the sugar. Roast for 45 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender and starting to caramelise. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, to make the cake, lightly grease an 11 x 22cm loaf tin, and line the base and sides with baking paper. Beat the sugar and eggs together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add the oil, wine, milk and lemon zest and beat until well combined. Add the combined, sifted flour and baking powder and slowly beat until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake alongside the pears for 40 minutes, or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, to make the Sauternes syrup, place the sugar and 2 tbsp water in a small pan and stir constantly, over very low heat, without letting it boil, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Increase the heat and allow the syrup to simmer, brushing the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush if necessary, until the syrup turns a golden colour. It is important to keep an eye on the syrup at all times, as once it starts to colour, it will continue to darken very quickly. Turn off the heat, add the wine and stir to combine. Some of the syrup may solidify at this point. If this is the case, return it to a very low heat until it dissolves again. Set aside to cool.
  • 4
    Serve the cake with the pears, drizzle with the syrup and add a dollop of cream.
  • Author: Neil Perry