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.

Pear Almond Cake

Ingredients

  • For the Crumb:
  • 1 cup (140 gm) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (50 gm) brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • For the Cake:
  • 1/2 cup (113 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 gm) sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups (280 gm) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 3 cups finely chopped pears (I used Anjou), divided
  • Pomegranate seeds, if desired
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp milk

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.

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  • Yield
    9 servings
  • Prep time
  • Cook time
  • Total time
  • In Category
    Dessert.

Instructions

To prepare the crumb:

  1. Stir together the dry ingredients. Fold in the butter until large clumps exist throughout. Set aside while you prepare your cake.

To prepare the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8” cake pan with sides at least 3” tall. As an alternative, you can use a 9” springform pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit inside the bottom of the pan and place inside. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and extracts and stir on medium until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add half of the flour along with the baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir on low until combined. Add the sour cream and stir to incorporate. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the remaining cup of flour. Once almost combined, fold in 2 cups of the pears. Spread the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining pears on top. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top of the pears and bake in the preheated oven until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 70-75 minutes. Allow to cool completely prior to removing the cake from the pan. Once cooled, drizzle with the glaze and serve with pomegranate seeds on top if desired.

To prepare the glaze:

  1. Combine the powdered sugar, almond extract, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of milk in a large bowl. Add additional milk until the desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over the cake.