I’m a football orphan. You’ve heard of football widows, but me? I’m a football orphan. And the culprit isn’t whom you’d expect. Dad played college football and he enjoys watching the games on TV. However, he doesn’t mind doing other things during the games and can hold a full conversation without interjecting some sports related commentary. He’s content to sit in his chair, half watching the game, half playing some other computer game, quietly enjoying a relaxing Sunday. He’s a pretty casual football fan.
Mom . . . yeah . . . not so much. Don’t get me wrong, if things need to be done, Mom does them regardless of what is on TV. But on Sundays, during the Lions games, she is a bit of a lost cause. She prefers not to have many distractions, and trying to talk to her about important stuff doesn’t really work, as I can’t manage to tear her attention away from the game.
The games all have trained professionals doing play-by-play commentary, but it’s like Mom isn’t aware of this fact, can’t hear them, because I all too frequently hear her basically calling the games over the commentators, creating quite the cacophony of sound. “That’s a first down” and “Touchdown” can often be heard being yelled in our house on Sunday afternoons. Worst of all are the outbursts of shouting and shrieking, as though it will make the players run faster or catch the pass, along with Mom turning from play-by-play announcer to coach, criticizing plays, wondering why they were run. This is only a little distracting while I’m trying to work. A few gentle reminders calm Mom down . . . at least for a few minutes!
I found plenty of calm in this Pear Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze. I’ve wanted to make this cake for a long time and am so glad I finally got around to it. The super moist cake is full of fresh, soft pears and comforting, warm cinnamon. I used the fabulous Warren pears from Frog Hollow and think that made the cake turn out even better. The pears were sweet, juicy, vanilla -y bits of heaven in the super moist and sweetly spiced cake. The crumble is soft in parts and a bit crunchy in others, providing contrasting texture, and the glaze brings it all together with the fantastic maple syrup goodness. It’s not too sweet and is a coffee cake, so it’s breakfast appropriate, but it’s also decadent enough for dessert. Whenever you eat this cake, it’s definitely a touchdown!
Don’t forget to enter my Warren pears giveaway from Frog Hollow Farm!
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 ½ cups pears, peeled, cored, and diced
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan.
Make the cake. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between each addition, until the eggs are fully incorporated and the mixture is once again light and fluffy.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Alternately add the flour mixture and sour cream to the sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Do three additions of flour and two of sour cream. Add in the vanilla and pears. Stir until the pears are evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
Make the topping. In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter using a fork or your fingers until it is well combined and forms clumps of various sizes. Sprinkle into an even layer over cake batter. Bake for about 40 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
While the cake cools, make the glaze. In a small bowl, stir together sugar, vanilla, and maple syrup until smooth. Add more maple syrup as needed until it can be drizzled over the cake. Serve cake warm or cool completely in pan. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen in pieces, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in the microwave for 30 seconds – 1 minute until warmed through.
Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse