What do you look for in a snacking cake at this time of the year? Pumpkin, naturally. And warm spices, studded with fruit. This moist Pumpkin Cherry Pear Cake with Cinnamon Almond Streusel delivers just that and is what I’m making right now. We serve it with breakfast or as a snack for family and houseguests.

Originally, I developed this recipe for American Almond Products Company. I used their cinnamon filling in the streusel, and apples and raisins in the batter.

Pumpkin Raisin Apple Cake

In this updated Pumpkin Cherry Pear cake,  I’ve added cardamom and boosted the quantity of spices because pumpkin can take a jolt of seasoning. Bosc pears are always a good choice in spice cakes because they are juicy yet somewhat firm when ripe. There’s a thick layer of streusel on top of this cake, reminiscent of crumb cake or crumb buns. If you prefer a lighter coating of crumbs, use less of the crumb mixture. Save the rest in a covered container in the refrigerator where they will keep for a few weeks.

A few prep tips. Roasting the almonds before using brings out their full flavor. Chopped or slivered almonds would work well too. Soaking any dried fruit in boiling water for five minutes plumps the fruit keeping it soft after baking. Be sure to drain the cherries thoroughly after soaking.

And if you want to make marzipan pumpkins, here’s how.

Kitchen Notebook:

Pumpkin purée varies dramatically from brand-to-brand. We learned this at a class I taught at Boston University recently. I developed this recipe using Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin Organic in a 29 ounce can. It is relatively dry and holds its shape when spooned from the can as you can see here.

Libbys canned pumpkin

I was provided with Farmers Market Organic Pumpkin Purée for my students to use in class. It was smooth, loose and watery and would make the batter too wet if you used it without making some recipe adjustments. If you find yourself with a can of watery pumpkin purée, add ¼ cup more all-purpose flour and reduce the sour cream or milk to ¼ of a cup.

Pumpkin Cherry Pear Cake with Cinnamon Almond Streusel

Yield: 1 Loaf Cake, 10 – 12 servings

Pumpkin Cherry Pear Cake with Cinnamon Almond Streusel

Pumpkin purée varies dramatically from brand-to-brand. I developed this recipe using Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin Organic in a 29 ounce can. It is relatively dry and holds its shape when spooned from the can. If you find yourself with a can of watery pumpkin purée, add ¼ cup more all-purpose flour and reduce the sour cream or milk to ¼ of a cup.

Ingredients

For the Cinnamon Streusel:

4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter

1/3 cup light brown sugar

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted

For the Batter:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/3 cup sour cream or milk

1 cup canned pumpkin purée*

1 cup finely diced ripe pear

1/3 cup dried Montmorency cherries or cranberries, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes and drained

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Directions

  1. To make the Streusel: Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle until smooth and creamy. Scrape the bowl and add the flour, salt and cinnamon. Mix only until the mixture just starts to come together, approximately 1 minute. Scrape the bowl then add the slivered almonds. Blend on low speed until the almonds are well distributed throughout the mixture. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Grease a 9 x 4-inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
  3. Stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom. Set aside.
  4. Beat the softened butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle until light and creamy, approximately 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl then beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape the bowl. Stir in the sour cream and pumpkin purée.
  5. Gradually add the flour mixture beating on low. Blend only until the flour is incorporated without overmixing. Stir in the fruits, scraping the bowl to evenly distribute them in the batter.
  6. Spoon the batter into the loaf pan.
  7. Grab some of the streusel mixture in your hand. Squeeze it into irregular clumps. Scatter and mound the pieces of streusel evenly over the top of the batter.
  8. Bake the loaf for 45 minutes. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 350ºF. Bake until the cake is risen, evenly browned and baked through in the center, for approximately 15 – 30 more minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before unmolding.
  9. Unmold the cake from the pan. Dust it with confectioner’s sugar before serving. Cover with plastic and store unrefrigerated for up to 2 days. For longer storage, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to a week. When tightly wrapped in plastic and foil, this cake can be frozen for 6 weeks.