An expatriate of New Orleans – and professional chef – who has lived in Los Angeles since her childhood, blogs about the journey from New Orleans to Los Angeles back to New Orleans, and points along the way.

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Pear and Spice Sour Cream Coffee Cake

By on Dec 2, 2013, 2:50 pm in Recipes-Sweet | 5 comments

Pear and Spice Sour Cream Coffee Cake


I have just finished up a pretty grueling week, in my capacity as a caterer, what with Hanukah and Thanksgiving happening at the same time this year.

I knew I wanted a little treat for myself going into it, so I made myself a sour cream coffee cake to have with my coffee very early each morning. This is no ordinary coffee cake, though. In fact, when my brother saw it sitting out on the counter, he said- “ Oh, Mom’s sour cream coffee cake. No disrespect to the memory of my mom and her baking skills (or anyone else’s mom, for that matter), but my response was “this cake is much better than Mom’s”.

First of all, I started with the best coffee cake recipe I have ever run across. Then I had a pear or two laying around in the fridge to use up, so added a layer of thinly sliced pears to the cake. And because I have been obsessing about cardamon lately (I know- strange), I decided to spice up my batter. And just for good measure, I added oats to the streusel topping for extra crunch. The result- something to really look forward to mornings before I hit the ground running.


Pear and Spice Sour Cream Coffee Cake

For the cake:

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 pear, peeled and cored

Streusel Topping

  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup golden brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, cubed
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 10-inch removable bottom cake pan with a 10 inch buttered parchment circle.
  2. Thinly slice the pear and lay slices on a paper towel while mixing the cake batter, to absorb the extra juices
  3. Mix first 5 ingredients in a small bowl to make the nut streusel mixture, then set it aside.
  4. Sift flour,  cardamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Cream together the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then add the lemon zest and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients and sour cream alternately into butter mixture in 3 additions, beating for about 20 seconds after each addition. Beat batter on high 1 minute.
  6. Spoon half the batter into the prepared cake pan, then smooth the top with an offset spatula, or the back of a spoon. Place the sliced pears on top of the batter, then spoon about 1/3 of the streusel over the pears. Spoon and smooth the remaining batter over the pear slices.
  7. Work the butter into the remaining streusel until it resembles large coarse crumbs, then sprinkle it over the top of the cake evenly.
  8. Bake the cake in the preheated oven until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool the cake completely in the pan. Cut around pan sides to loosen cake, then release the sides.  Run  a long spatula or thin knife under the cake, and gently transfer it onto a cardboard cake round or flat platter.

Yield:  12-16 servings





  1. I have no doubt this is a home run. This recipe strikes as so very you. It may have been influenced by some mother (somewhere) but it has Gisele written all over it. Happy Holidays. XOGREG

    Avatar sippitysup

    December 2, 2013

  2. Thanks so much, Greg. So sweet of you to say 😉

    Avatar Gisele Perez

    December 2, 2013

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