Anna Mintz is an Associate Publicist for Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, and is an editor for The Recipe Club. Originally from Atlanta, she now lives in New York City and loves exploring NYC’s restaurant scene and trying out new recipes in her own kitchen.
I love to cook, but I am not an experienced (or confident) baker. I’ve always preferred salty tastes to sweet, so while I was learning to cook, I naturally gravitated toward savory dishes. But when some friends decided to host a potluck brunch a couple of weekends ago, I decided to take a walk on the sweet side and bake something from scratch.
After scouring our cookbooks for something that looked good for a beginner, I chose the Quick Pear Streusel Coffee Cake from Gale Gand’s Brunch! (Clarkson Potter, 2009). Hey, the word “quick” was in the title; I figured this would be as good a place as any for a novice like me to start.
Gale’s recipe calls for relatively few ingredients, and I found the cake to be surprisingly simple to put together. The whole cake, streusel topping included, is little more than just flour, butter, sugar, milk, and pears, and it came out of the oven perfectly moist and delicious. I was impressed and proud and will definitely be revisiting this as a quick-and-easy way to impress house guests or party hosts.
Quick Pear Streusel Coffee Cake from Gale Gand’s Brunch!
Makes one 8-inch square cake; Serves 8
For the cake:
• Unsalted butter, for the baking dish
• 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
• 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
• ½ cup sugar
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 large egg
• ½ cup whole milk
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 2 ripe pears (I like Bartlett), unpeeled, cored, and chopped (1½ cups)
For the streusel topping:
• ½ cup sugar
• ¼ cup all-purpose flour
• 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut up
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.
To make the cake, combine the flour with the baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and then mix in the milk and melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the pears, and mix well. Pour this into the buttered baking dish.
To make the streusel, mix the sugar, flour, cold butter, and cinnamon in a bowl by pinching them together with your fingers until well combined. Sprinkle over the top of the batter.
Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes, until it is golden and dry on top. Cool in the pan, and then cut into squares. This cake keeps for up to 4 days, covered, at room temperature.
Check out the slideshow for more photos from my experience baking the Quick Pear Streusel Coffee Cake: