Quick Pear Streusel Coffee Cake

Pear cake with ice cream
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Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Yield: 1 cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
252 Calories
9g Fat
41g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 252
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 41mg 14%
Sodium 257mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 24g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 2mg 8%
Calcium 91mg 7%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 90mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Buttery streusel can transform simple cakes, breads, muffins and pies into decadent dishes with just a few simple ingredients. Butter, flour, sugar and spices to taste are all that it takes to cover other preparations with a delicious, rich crunch. The recipe for our quick pear coffee cake comes thanks to Gale Gand and Christie Matheson (Clarkson Potter/Publisher, 2009). It's a simple, fantastic family recipe adapted from a tasty apple streusel by Gand's grandmother. A spongy and moist cake gets a punch of flavor thanks to ripe pears chunks. Once the streusel tops the batter, you need 35 minutes in the oven. Serve this delicious cake as part of a brunch spread or with a cup of coffee as a tasty breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up.

When adding fresh fruit to batters, most home cooks have noticed that the fruit tends to sink to the bottom of the cake, becoming the first layer once the cake is un-molded. To avoid the fruit clumping together at the bottom, simply coat the pears slightly with a dust of flour. Once it's time to add them to the batter, don't dump them and mix them in, but gently fold them in with slow movements so they get evenly distributed, maintaining their shape, and most importantly, their place in the batter. Check that all the pear pieces have a similar small size to ensure no big chunks are going to sink purely by gravity.

For this recipe, you'll need Bartlett pears, the juicy and buttery pears with the ultimate "pear" flavor, ideal for baking, but also delicious on their own. Bartlett pears are green on the outside, with white flesh inside. To check for ripeness, simply press near the stem and feel if the flesh gives a little—this is a sign of ripeness. If the pears you have are too green to use, simply give them a few days at room temperature, or place the pears in a bowl with bananas to speed up the process. Bananas release ethene, a gas that helps in the ripening process. Serve this delicious pear streusel with a touch of whipped cream, or make it a whole dessert by adding vanilla ice cream on the side, along with a few pieces of dried pear and chopped-up walnuts for crunch. This cake keeps for up to four days, covered at room temperature.


For the Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted

  • 2 medium Bartlett pears, ripe, unpeeled, cored, and chopped

For the Streusel Topping:

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut up

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Steps to Make It

Make the Cake

  1. Heat oven to 400 F. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

  2. In a separate bowl, mix egg, milk and melted butter until well combined. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well. Add the pears and gently fold them in without overmixing. Pour into prepared pan. Reserve.

Make the Streusel

  1. In a small bowl, mix sugar and flour and cut in butter with your fingers until crumbs form. Sprinkle over top of batter in pan.

  2. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until golden and dry on top. Cool in pan and cut into 8 squares. This cake keeps for up to four days, covered at room temperature.

  3. Enjoy!