>Since moving to Chicago last summer, I’ve made a group of friends that have quickly come to mean the world to me, a small group of women who like me, chose to leave behind careers earned with advanced degrees to be at home with their children. Smart women who read and think as much as I do, whether it’s the darker meaning buried in the latest Pinkalicious children’s book or an interesting New York Times article.
We get together once a week for coffee, after dropping off the kids at school, and I look forward to those mornings all week. What I love most about what we’ve come to call our coffee klatsch is that our conversations can and usually drift from mundane topics like our favorite supermarket to intellectual discussions prompted by the latest New Yorker article. Even surrounded by my children’s artwork and toys, I reconnect with the career woman I used to be thanks to my coffee klatsch mornings.
I doubt our conversations would flow as well without the baked treats the host prepares: scones, muffins, or coffee cakes, often hot out of the oven. With so much in common, it makes sense that we also all love to cook and share recipes. I had the ladies over on Friday, and I prepared a golden cinnamon pear cake to serve. it was the perfect breakfast treat, not too sweet with cinnamon and vanilla scented pears that just melted in the mouth.
Breakfast Pear Cake
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Mom’s Apple Cake)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves 6 to 8
5 large pears, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 orange, juice of
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan with a removable bottom, or, if you don’t have one, a simple round cake pan.
- Peel, quarter, and cut the pears into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
- Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, juice the orange, no need to be fancy, just squeeze it by hand, removing any pits. Whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until well incorporated.
- Now fold in the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula. Scrape the bottom and the sides well to make sure you have no unsightly pockets of flour left.
- Pour half of batter into your greased pan. Spread all the pears over it, gently to not crush them too much. My pears had oozed out some yummy cinnamon juice, I folded that in as well. Cover with the remaining batter and smooth out with a spatula.
- Bake for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. You can serve this warm or cold.