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Pear Cardamom Coffee Cake

Servings: 9

Yes, you can buy pre ground cardamom at the store, but it’s worth taking the extra time to toast fresh whole cardamom pods and grind them yourself. The extra step only takes 5 to 10 minutes, and the result is a much more aromatic, flavorful spice. In this recipe, homemade ground cardamom plays a leading role in both the cake batter and the streusel. Classic coffee cakes tend to feature cinnamon, but this one highlights the sweet earthiness of cardamom, which pairs beautifully with the ripe Bartlett pear. Almond flour adds a subtle nuttiness to the cake, while sour cream ensures a tender crumb.


For the freshly ground cardamom

  • 1/4 cup whole cardamom pods

For the streusel

  • 1/3 cup (40g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (50g) almond flour
  • 1/4 cup (53g) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (45g) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
  • 4 Tbs. (55g) unsalted butter, melted

For the cake

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup (151g) sour cream
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (25g) almond flour
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 1-1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 medium (175g) ripe Bartlett pear, peeled and diced (1-1/4 cups)
  • 1 cup (130 g) confectioners sugar
  • 1 Tbs. half-and-half


Prepare the cardamom

In a small skillet, toast the cardamom pods over medium heat until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and let cool completely.

Remove the cardamom seeds from the pods. Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, grind until finely ground. Set aside for use in streusel and cake.

Make the streusel

In a small bowl, combine the flours, brown sugar, oats, salt, and cardamom. Mix to combine. Add the melted butter, and gently stir to combine until clumps form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8-inch square baking pan with nonstick baking spray, and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla until combined and pale yellow in color. Add the all-purpose flour, sugar, almond flour, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt. Whisk until a thick batter forms, 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer to the prepared baking pan, and top with the diced pear. Top with the streusel, and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove and let cool 20 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the confectioners sugar and half-and-half. Drizzle over the cake.


Rate or Review

Reviews (2 reviews)

  • pokano | 12/09/2021

    We enjoyed this unusual cake more the second and third days than the first. It's best warm (use the microwave for 15 seconds a piece) with a little vanilla ice cream. I didn't bother to put the glaze on it, but having made it, I can see its utility, since neither the cake nor the streusel is particularly sweet. I didn't have enough white cardamom, so used green for part of it. When I make this again, I won't bother with the parchment paper liner on the bottom, since you never take the cake out of the pan. I will also make the pear pieces larger since small dice simply disappeared.

  • Lipse | 10/30/2021

    Simple and delicious! Pears & cardamom work beautifully together. I let the cake cool completely before cutting, and felt it was a little firm, but 5 - 8 seconds in the microwave mad all the difference. Divine! I guess that means that if you let it cool for, say 30 minutes, the cake would be perfect fresh from the oven. I made this 2 days ago, and the microwave trick will probably make it delicious for another day or two. Great!

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