TASTEFOOD: Put a little ginger in your coffee cake

Pear and Ginger Streusel Cake (Photo by Lynda Balslev for TasteFood)

Come in from the cold and enjoy some cake. Spiced with ginger and not overly sweet, this coffee cake is light enough to enjoy for breakfast, tea or dessert. A double whammy of ginger, both ground and crystallized, in the topping jazzes up the simple, vanilla-infused cake, which is studded with pears and then covered with a generous layer of streusel. While the cake is delicious warm from the oven, the ginger flavor will intensify as the cake cools — that is, if you can wait that long.

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Pear and Ginger Streusel Cake

Active time: 20 minutes

Total time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Yield: makes 1 (8-inch) cake; 6 to 8 servings

Topping:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped crystalized ginger

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, in small pieces

Cake:

2 firm pears, peeled, cored, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch springform pan lined with parchment paper and butter the parchment.

Make the streusel: Combine the flour, sugar, gingers and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is pea-sized. Set aside.

For the cake: Toss the pears with the lemon juice in a small bowl.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Cream the sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix to blend. Add the flour mixture; mix on low speed until just combined without overmixing. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Arrange the pears in a concentric pattern over the batter and spread the streusel evenly over the pears.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a rack. Run a knife around the sides of the cake and release the sides of the pan. Cool the cake and serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The cake may be covered and stored at room temperature for up to two days.