Food memories are one of the primary ways I connect to ingredients in the kitchen. For example, a warm pan sizzling with butter and caramelizing onions reminds me of the winter months I spent in my first apartment. Thick slabs of banana bread floods me with memories of time spent in my Nana’s kitchen. Baked spaghetti is always a meal with my mom. The smell and taste of ingredients I first shared with someone special to me always brings me back to that time spent with them, and somehow, that experience is always a little more rich around the holidays. This holiday, one of my favorite treats is pear almond cake.
A favorite food of mine this time of year is coffee cake. My Mimi never visited during December without a tin of cookies and a moist, cinnamon-scented cake for us to nibble on. Now, as an adult with my own children, I try to replicate those same experiences around the table with my kiddos, and one of the few foods I keep coming back to is that morning coffee cake. Today’s recipe, this pear almond cake, is a simple and delicious breakfast cake that is perfect this time of year and is sure to inspire memories of your own.
This pear almond cake is loaded with Stemilt Anjou pears and topped with a buttery brown sugar crumb topping. The subtle hint of almond extract is present in the cake without overpowering it, and the dominant flavor throughout are the sweet toothy chunks of premium fresh fruit throughout. Although this cake needs no frosting or topping, a simple powdered sugar glaze makes for a pretty (and easy!) decoration for this otherwise humble dessert.
To make it, we start with the crumb topping. Dry ingredients of flour, sugar, and a smidge of salt come together with a pool of melted butter. The crumble clumps together as it cools and bakes on top of the batter in buttery mounds. The cake, a dense cake made extra moist from the addition of sour cream, is a one-bowl situation that is barely scented with cinnamon. The batter comes together quite thick and bakes up tall in a springform pan.
I love to serve this cake as a gussied-up breakfast option in the morning. Pomegranate seeds or additional thinly sliced pears make for a fresh and simple decoration, but the only thing this cake really begs for is a cup of coffee and a special person to share it with. If you get a chance, make some food memories of your own this season with an Anjou pear-packed cake like this one- it’s bound to be unforgettable.