Yesterday I got a huge box delivered to my door. Excited, I hurried to open the box and found a dozen beautiful pears. The pears were a gift from my friend, Colleen.
It wasn’t my birthday or anything but life has been hard lately and I have been down. Through it all, Colleen has been there for me – to help me, to talk, to listen and to help. I can’t even express how much that has meant to me. Colleen has really been a great friend, something that isn’t so easy to find.
So when I stopped to think about what to make with these beautiful pears and realized that today is Colleen’s birthday, I knew I had to create something in her honor. Since it’s Colleen’s birthday, a cake seemed in order and since she calls me Spicecake to her Cupcake, it had to be more spicy and less sweet. I decided to make a crumb cake and fill it with chopped pears.
The crumb cake is super-moist and tender with a delicious crumb topping. It’s not too sweet and the cinnamon and nutmeg shine through perfectly. And all through the cake, there are chunks of cooked pears that are intensely pear-like. The topping is a mix of brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and vegan butter. It’s sweet, warm and crumbly. I made the cake gluten-free so Colleen and I can both enjoy the recipe.
I know it’s just a small gesture and that it doesn’t come close to expressing my love and gratitude to Colleen for the friend she has been to me. But it’s a start. So thank you, Cupcake, and Happy Birthday!! I love you! Enjoy!
Colleen’s Pear Crumb Cake
For the cake:
2 Tbs. ground flaxseed
1/3 cup warm water
½ cup non-dairy milk
¼ cup V-Butter, melted or oil
1 ¼ cup gluten-free, all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 ripe pears, cored and chopped
For the topping:
¾ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup gluten-free, all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 Tbs. cold V-Butter, cut into pieces
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 baking pan. In a mug, combine the flaxseed and warm water. Mix and let it sit for 5 minutes until it becomes a gel. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the milk and the butter. Add in the flax gel and mix well. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well until everything is well-combined. Fold in the chopped pears. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
To make the topping: In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add the butter bits and with a fork, mash the butter into the dry ingredients until it turns into crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the batter in the pan.
Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes, turning the pan around halfway through. The top of the cake should be dry and hardened. A cake tester should come out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan. Cut into squares and serve.
The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.
Awww, Spicecake, I am so flattered 🙂
I am sooooo behind on trying to make this for myself, but i have found myself with some extra, ripe juicy pears!!!!
Thanks for naming a recipe after me!!! I am all star-struck!! 🙂
I can not wait to get started making this one and sharing it with my gluten free friends!
Happy new year!!!!!
Thank you for being such a true friend, Spicecake. I love you! Happy New Year!! xoxoxo
Hi Reha, would you recommend using chickpea flour?
Hi Susie, you can’t just use chickpea flour for GF baking. You also have to have starches like tapioca or potato. GF baking needs a formula. There are GF all-purpose mixes available from Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur and Trader Joes. If you need to make your own, it should be flours like brown rice flour, amaranth, sorghum, chickpea plus the starches. I like to use the high protein, whole grain flours.
Hey Rhea, this looks amazing! Just wondering if I could use Tomor butter or a vegan spread? Thanks 🙂
Hi Hazel, yes you can use whatever vegan butter you like 🙂
Brilliant! Thanks, can’t wait to make it. Happy birthday to Colleen too 🙂
What a fabulous creation. I am making this today for a friend coming to visit. Thank you, thank you for the inspiration!! Your blog never fails to give great ideas, and the work you must put into it does not go unnoticed! Feel like I have a compassionate vegan friend out there who keeps sending me good ideas and inspiration. Thanks Rhea!
Hi Lisa, thank you so much for the kind words. Yes, you have a friend here 🙂 Hope you like the cake! I had to stop myself from eating it yesterday which is so unlike me!! Thanks, Rhea xoxo