This moist and tender cake is good for snacking any time of the day. I love this fall flavor combo, but I’ve also included ways you can vary the cake with different fruits and flavors (see below). Be sure to read Baking Together #9 before making the recipe!

Serves 10 to 12


For the streusel

  • 2/3 cup (3 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, slightly softened
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) chopped pecans


For the cake

  • 1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (4 1/4 ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely chopped crystalized ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 3/8 ounces) diced pears from one or two ripe pears, peeled and cored


Make the streusel

1. Put the flour, brown sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and mix with a fork until well blended.

2. Add the butter and use your fingertips to mix until well-blended; the butter should be incorporated and the mixture should be crumbly. Stir in the pecans. Freeze the topping while you make the cake.


Make the cake

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.

2. Whisk the flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl until well blended. Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using an electric handheld mixer fitted with wire beaters). Beat on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about one minute. Add the brown sugar and beat until fluffy and lighter in color, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on medium speed until well-blended. Add half of the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold until the flour is just blended. Add the buttermilk and fold until blended and fold in the remaining flour and the crystalized ginger until just incorporated.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Scatter the pears over the batter and sprinkle the streusel over the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 39 to 41 minutes. Move the pan to a rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. The coffeecake can be cooled, covered and stowed for up to 3 days at room temperature.

Fruit Swaps:


Juicy apples, like McIntosh, are best for this cake but if you have firmer apples in your fridge, give them a quick sauté to soften them up ahead of time. Here’s how: In a medium non-stick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter over medium-low heat. Add 1 1/2 cups chopped apples and cook, stirring frequently until apples are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool before assembling the cake.

Blueberry or Raspberry 
Instead of the 1 1/2 chopped pears, use the same amount of berries. If the berries are frozen, don’t thaw them before using. You can stick with the ginger flavors or chose one of the following options.


Flavor Swaps:


Instead of the ground ginger, add 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon or orange zest along with the vanilla extract. 

Instead of the ground ginger and crystalized ginger, add 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract  along with the vanilla extract.  Instead of the pecans in the topping, use the same amount of sliced or slivered almonds.