Spiced Pear, Walnut & Sultana Cake

Spiced Pear, Walnut & Sultana Cake-4

Hi! Hope everyone’s new year has got off to a great start, I can’t believe it’s March already!

I need to be honest – I’ve been a bad girl, actually more stupid than bad. For 6 months I wholeheartedly stuck to my allergy/intolerance free diet and couldn’t believe the changes in myself and how amazing I felt. And then Christmas happened. Not so much Christmas, I made Christmas feast for 16 people that was all gluten, dairy & egg free. But then I had relatives staying, New Years Eve and catch ups with friends and family and I started cheating on my diet, it just made it so much easier to be able to have a sandwich, a burger, or a piece of toast. My undoing was reading that some people can have sourdough when gluten intolerant, so I gave it a go and didn’t notice a reaction. But that led me to thinking I could just eat gluten, so I did, lots of it. I tried having cow’s dairy but that makes me so sick, and tried eggs whole, whites only and yolks only, but I break out in hives and a sensation like a swarm of angry bull-ants falling on my head. But gluten, I thought I was getting away with.

I recently had an argument with my husband, and he said “why are you being so negative about everything, all the time”. My obvious reaction was  to have a childish tantrum and say that I wasn’t being negative  – it’s not my fault if everything and everyone sucks! You know the ‘I hate my life’ melodrama with an added foot stomp and door slam for that extra effect.

Spiced Pear, Walnut & Sultana Cake-3

But that night I laid awake and I had a good look at myself and realised that it was me that sucked. I was tired all the time and had no energy at all. In the 2 months since Christmas I hadn’t done any of the things I enjoy, I didn’t feel like cooking, blogging, taking photo’s, reading, knitting, catching up with people, etc and I hated going to work. I got a motorcycle at the start of January, one that I’ve always wanted, but I didn’t have any motivation to ride it. I felt really miserable all the time and couldn’t see joy in anything, my weight had crept back up 3kg and I had the huge pimples along my jaw line again. There was no hiding from it, I felt like I used to feel. While gluten may not give me the severe physical reactions that cows milk and eggs do, it plays absolute havoc with me mentally and emotionally. Unfortunately that realisation came about 2 days too late for me, another benefit of being on my diet is that after having the worst immune system for years, last year, I never got sick, even if everyone around me did. With my system under stress again, in the past month I managed to catch every bug going around – the flu, bronchitis and got a sinus infection.

Now that I am feeling better and my diet is back on track, guess what? within a week I want to cook again, and blog, and I enjoyed it! I can’t wait to get healthy and enjoy life, my goal this year is to work on my fitness – and ride my motorbike 🙂 I’m so happy that I only let it go on for 2 months, and that I am on my way to getting my energy and motivation back again. I’ve missed it way more than I miss a piece of toast, maybe I just had to learn that lesson. I’m very happy to be back!

This cake is one I used to make, and this is my first go at making it dairy, egg and gluten free. The flavours are amazing and I find that while you can use fresh pears, the canned ones make the cake so much more moist. Also, make sure the honey you use tastes good, I made this once and didn’t like it, then I tried the honey on its own and that was the flavour that I wasn’t enjoying. Please excuse the mess I made of the top of the cake, in my impatience I used cold honey to brush on top and it just dragged the top of the cake with it. I like to put holes in the top so the honey can seep in, but if you want a less sweet cake, you could skip the honey all together, it is quite sweet. The cake smells so good while it is cooking,  I am too impatient and cut into it while it was still warm…. and oh boy does it taste good. Who needs bloody gluten!

Suitable for – gluten, dairy & egg free and vegetarian and vegan diets.

Spiced Pear, Walnut & Sultana Cake-1

Spiced Pear, Walnut & Sultana Cake  (Click recipe for a print friendly version)

  • Olive oil to grease pan, I use spray
  • 150g Nuttelex, margerine or butter of choice
  • 270g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot or tapioca powder
  • 225g gluten free plain flour (I use YesYouCan Gluten Free flour) or normal flour plain flour if you can have gluten
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 800g canned pears, gives about 450g pears. Chop the pears into 1cm cubes, and keep the juice.
  • 90ml pear juice from canned pears
  • 50g walnuts chopped
  • 70g sultanas (this is 2 of the little snack size boxes)
  • 3 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 2 tablespoons of warmed honey to brush over the cooked cake (I like orange blossom honey)

Spiced Pear, Walnut & Sultana Cake-2


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170c degrees. Grease a 20cm springform pan with olive oil spray, or use a normal cake pan and line with baking paper.
  2. Using a beater, mix together the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and creamy.
  3. Add the arrowroot powder, baking powder, pear juice and flour and gently fold mixture to combine well. Add the diced pears, walnuts, sultanas and mixed spice and stir through.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and put in the oven for 1 1/2 hours (90 mins) or until a skewer comes out of the middle clean.
  5.  Once cooked, remove from oven and using the skewer, poke a few holes into the cake to allow the honey to seep in. Then pour over the warmed honey and brush over the cake, while still in the pan. Leave to cool for 10mins. And then remove from the pan and let sit until cooled.


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