My sister joined us for the weekend as our first house guest in the new apartment, and I made this coffee cake to celebrate. Things aren’t quite put together just yet in the kitchen, which this time meant we didn’t have any cinnamon on hand, so I substituted Chinese five spice instead. I’ve done that before with success, so no biggie, right? Except not so much. We’re sitting at the breakfast table over cake and coffee, and she says something tastes just a bit off with the flavor of the cinnamon. I say it’s not cinnamon at all, and she says “oh, that’s probably it then.” So for round two, I went out and bought ground cinnamon, and the coffee cake really is better for it.
Apart from the cinnamon snafu, this coffee cake comes together very easily, and it holds up well overnight and through the next day, so it’s a perfect make-ahead dish when you’re expecting company. If you’re eating it the day after it’s baked, it tastes best just slightly warmed in the oven or microwave before serving.
I use Greek yogurt to keep things moist and flavorful and keeping the butter to a minimum. I didn’t swap out any of the flour for whole wheat; I usually do make the switch to a whole-grain flour if I’m baking muffins or breakfast loaves, but for a coffee cake, I wanted to keep things light and fluffy.
Pear and Walnut Coffee Cake
1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 bosc pears, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the pear pieces.
3. Assemble the crumb topping: mix together the flour, brown sugar, and walnuts together. Add the melted butter and combine until moistened.
4. Pour the coffee cake batter into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Bake the coffee cake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the crumble topping. Continue baking 20 minutes. Finally, turn the heat up to 400 degrees and bake 5 minutes more to brown the topping. Serve warm.