Sorry, what was that? How’s the thesis, you say? Well, good. Thanks for asking! I guess… Quick, pass the cake!!
Truth be told: my thesis is driving me crazy! Crazy and absentminded. The kind of absentminded where you mistake the fridge for your wardrobe and not realize it until fifteen minutes later, when you find yourself eating a peanut butter and cucumber sandwich wearing nothing but a towel. Ah well, at least I wasn’t wearing the sandwich, right?
But let’s move on to another topic. My thesis scares me… And cake makes me happy, so that’s what I’ll be blabbing about today! More specifically, I’ll be talking about this Pear and Walnut Coffee Cake! It’s amazing! I actually reward myself with it when I’m working on my thesis.
Damn, that brought me right back to it…Aaaaanyway, let’s pretend my thesis is NOT scary for a second. Just so I can tell you why I love this cake so much… You see, this cake is perfect for taking my mind off that dreaded word document that hopefully, someday, will magically turn into a 25,000 word thesis. It’s filled with juicy pears, cinnamon, brown sugar and walnuts and topped with amazing walnut streusel! And powdered sugar. Because powdered sugar makes me feel like Christmas is right around the corner even though it’s not even December yet and around Christmastime my thesis will hopefully be out of of my life!
I wish it was Christmas already!
The Rocking Rebel and I actually tried to do a little Christmas shopping today, but we ended up just buying stupid things like labels, notebooks and cupcake wrappers. So disappointing! Confession: we’re the worst shoppers ever. Seriously, I’m wearing a seven-year-old pair of jeans…
Like all good recipes, this cake started with me craving cake. Oh, and with a huge bag of walnuts my mom gave me. And with a few pears that didn’t yet have a purpose in life. A bit of Googling later I virtually ‘stumbled’ upon this gem of a recipe on Taste of Home. And I’m so glad I found it!
The cake part of this coffee cake is amazing! Don’t get me wrong, the filling and the topping are definitely winners too, but the cake is something I might one day use in another recipe! It’s deliciously moist and a bit tangy, because it’s made with sour cream instead of milk or buttermilk. It’s super yummy! About the filling and streusel: you can’t really go wrong with brown sugar and cinnamon, can you? And pears love brown sugar and cinnamon. So do walnuts.
So, in a nutshell (haha!): this cake is deeeeeeeelish!
I adapted the recipe only a little bit. Aka: I added more filling and streusel topping. And next time I make this cake I’ll probably bake it in a smaller can pan too. The original recipe calls for a 22-cm/9-inch springform pan, but I think baking it in an 20-cm/8-inch cake pan would result in prettier layers.
Because, in case you didn’t know, middle layers can be tricky. Or is that just me? I just hate it when there’s barely enough cake batter to cover the middle layer and you have to be super careful not to mix the two together. I’m not really a careful person. I don’t do delicate, pretty cakes for that exact reason. And when I’m making something as simple as a coffee cake, I really, really, REALLY don’t want to have to be precious with the filling. With the 22-cm/9-inch pan I had to be precious. So frustrating!
So do yourself a favor and bake the cake in a smaller pan (I changed it in my recipe). This just gives you a little more batter to work with. Problem solved! Let’s focus on the cake again…
Regular readers are probably a bit puzzled right now. What’s that cup of coffee doing there? It just looked good next to that piece of cake. I didn’t drink it. I still can’t stand coffee.
But I have a love affair with coffee cakes!
- 40g (or ⅓ cup) all-purpose flour
- 56g (or ¼ cup) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- 45g (or 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon, packed) light brown sugar
- 130g (or 1 cup + 2 tablespoons) chopped walnuts
- 2 medium ripe pears, peeled and cored
- ½ ground cinnamon
- 40g (or 2 tablespoons + 2½ teaspoons, packed) light brown sugar
- 46g (or ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon) chopped walnuts
- 113g (or ½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 200g (or 1 cup) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 220 (or 1¾ cup) all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 240ml (or 1 cup) sour cream
- powdered sugar for dusting, optional
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, butter, cinnamon and sugar. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients with the tips of your fingers until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the walnuts and set aside.
- Quarter the pears, then cut each quarter into four slices. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon, sugar and walnut pieces. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F (standard oven setting). Butter the sides of a 20-cm/8-inch springform pan with baking parchment and butter the sides.
- In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Using a mixer, beat together until soft and creamed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix in.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sour cream. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold until somewhat combined. Then mix with the mixer until the mixture looks smooth.
- Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Top with the filling cinnamon-sugar mixture and the sliced pears. Carefully spread the remaining batter on top and sprinkle with the topping mixture.
- Bake for about 55-65 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for one hour before removing from the pan and cutting. Before serving, dust with powdered sugar if desired.
- Cake keeps stored in an airtight container, for up to five days!