Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until incorporated. Sift the flour and ground cardamom together and fold them into the creamed mixture with the milk.
Reserve about one-third of the pear slices and roughly chop the rest. Fold the chopped pears into the creamed mixture with the sultanas. Spoon the mixture into a greased 1 kg (2 lb) loaf tin, its base and 2 long sides also lined with oiled greaseproof paper. Spread the surface level.
Arrange the reserved pear slices along the centre of the cake, pressing them in gently. Bake in a preheated oven, 160°C (325°F), Gas Mark 3, for 1¼–1½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then loosen the edges and lift out of the tin using the lining paper. Transfer to a wire rack, peel off the lining paper and leave to cool completely. Drizzle with the honey.