Wholefood Cooking

Gingerbread and Pear Pudding Cake for the Cooler Weather


Dairy Free, Low Gluten Gingerbread and Pear Pudding Cake with a Lemon Custard Cream

It must be the cooler winter weather, but I’ve been doing a fair bit of baking lately – something wholesome and nourishing for a little treat each day. There’s the very quick to throw together Gingerbread and Pear Pudding Cake above (freezes brilliantly), the Lemon Meringue Pie below for my daughters birthday a couple of weeks ago (which lasts brilliantly because that Italian Meringue is so stable) and a couple of weeks before that, this hearty Pumpkin Bread. Both the LMP and Pumpkin bread recipes are in Wholefood Baking.



I’m usually having that little something sweet as I sit at my desk mid morning – I’m head down, rugged up as I work on a new book (will be some time off before it gets to the shelves) and it’s a delicious and warming part of my day. This isn’t going to be a long post, just a hello and would you like the recipe for that delicious Gingerbread and Pear Pudding Cake ? It would be perfect for the solstice this coming weekend. Serve it warm from the oven, or if left over, warm it up a bit before eating. And the Lemon Custard Cream – a little dairy free number, but if you’d prefer to make a dairy lemon custard, go for it. Just make sure you get something lemony with it… lemon and gingerbread is a gorgeous combination. And the stand mixer below ? It is a toy that belongs to my nieces children. LOVE IT. A little bit of whimsy, but I love the colour and that it is wooden (and not plastic) and basically gorgeous.


I love winter, love the solstice and love the wild and windy winter weather that accompanies it. I find it a time to turn inward, reflect and hopefully become a little more balanced – a never ending journey I know, but one that I find deeply meaningful. With such short days, and the cold and wind outside, I find a little piece of this cake all warm and puddingy, to be deeply delicious to both body and soul.


Dairy Free, Nut Free and Low Gluten

This delicious cake is based on a recipe by one of my favourite wholefood chefs Myra Kornfeld. I’ve loved and admired her work over many years, especially this recipe and made a quite a few changes to it along the way. With regard to the Oatmeal, in Australia I use the Four Leaf brand, in the US Bob’s Red Mill calls this Oat Flour. Basically you want some bran and germ. At a pinch you can buy rolled oats (stabilised/steamed) and grind them to a rough meal. Make sure the brand of rolled oat is not too  dry. I am considering marinating raisins in some Pedro Ximenez and using them in the cake as well/or instead of the pears. Please remember I use 20ml tablespoons.

1 cup / 135gm oatmeal

1 cup / 130gm unbleached white spelt flour

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate (baking) soda

3/4 tablespoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 generous tablespoon (or more) glace ginger, roughly chopped

1/2 cup /125ml  melted coconut oil (full flavour)

1/2 cup/ 125ml  maple syrup

1/2 cup molasses

3 tablespoons brown rice syrup/ 60ml  (I prefer the Spiral brand)

2/3 cup / 160ml coconut milk (full fat)

2 eggs

3/4 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract (I use Heilala)

2 – 3 medium pears, peeled and cut into thick slices

Pre heat oven to 180c or 165c if fan forced. Line a 20cm square cake tin.

Add the oatmeal, spelt, baking soda, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and glace ginger into a mixing bowl and whisk through to distribute the ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup, molasses rice syrup, coconut milk, eggs, vinegar and vanilla. Before you add this to the dry ingredients, peel and slice the pears. Add the wet to the dry ingredients, and stir through until combined – it will be a wet mix. Pour into the baking tin and press the pears into the mix.

Bake for 40 – 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and serve as desired.


2 cups (500ml)  rice milk (or 1 of coconut and 1 of rice, or include almond milk as desired)

1/3 teaspoon agar powder

1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons (30 – 40 ml) maple syrup

1 tablespoon kudzu (or cornstarch)

finely grated zest of one lemon

30 – 60 ml lemon juice

1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

Add the milk, 30ml maple syrup to a small pot and whisk in the agar well. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 8 minutes (from the boil) on a very gentle heat. Stir often as the agar will sink to the bottom and stick.

Meanwhile, mix the kudzu and 1/4 cup (60ml) water to a smooth paste. When the agar is ready take it off the heat and whisk in the kudzu slurry – it will thicken immediately. Return to the stove and stir constantly until it comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and add lemon zest, 30ml lemon juice and vanilla. Stir through and taste, adding more lemon juice as needed. Pour into a bowl and cover, place in fridge and cool. Add what will be fairy thick and set mix to a food processor and blend until silky smooth – this will take at least 5 minutes.