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.
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.
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.
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.
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