Grease a 22-23cm springform tin with butter and line the bottom and sides with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 175C (fan forced).
For the caramelised pears melt the butter in a small saucepan and then stir in the maple syrup and salt. Simmer for a couple of minutes then pour over the base of the cake tin.
Slice the pears lengthways into quarters and remove the cores. Thinly slice each piece and arrange the slices in a fan shape over the butter and maple syrup mixture.
Then make the cake by beating the egg yolks for a few minutes, until they are thick and pale yellow. Mix in the softened butter and the maple syrup until well combined. Then stir in the almond meal and spices.
In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter in two batches, being careful not to over mix. If the mixture is still streaked with white that is fine.
Pour the cake batter over the pears and bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
If you are not sure your springform tin seals very well place the cake on a baking tray before putting in the oven.
Let the cake cool in the tin before turning it upside down onto a serving plate. It is beautiful either warm or at room temperature with thick cream, creme fraiche or yoghurt.