Pear Spiced Crumb Cake & The Season of Giving {Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway}

Sometimes sickness can be a blessing. I was not myself last week, resigned to my bed for what felt like an eternity. As achey as I felt, I enjoyed every minute, because the inability to do all the things I normally must do allowed me…

Pear Spiced Crumb Cake & The Season of Giving {Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway}

Sometimes sickness can be a blessing.

I was not myself last week, resigned to my bed for what felt like an eternity. As achey as I felt, I enjoyed every minute, because the inability to do all the things I normally must do allowed me the time to do the things I would love to do, if there were more than 24 hours in a day.

Like read stories. Play Legos. Color. Watch silly movies. Enjoy the simple things…with my children.

The kitchen remained spotless for days. But as soon as I had some energy to dirty it up, I found myself down there. My daughter baked her first pie. I was too weak to maneuver my appliances, so I told her, we can do this the old fashioned way. I handed her a whisk and a bowl, and she followed my instructions, from the crust to the custard filling. The look of pride on her face was priceless. It was a MasterCard commercial.

Days later, my strength slowly returned, and it was time for me to have some fun of my own. I baked the Pear Spiced Crumb Cake that had been running through my mind the whole week. But I still did it the old fashioned way. Bowls, whisks, spatulas, fingers. I was exhausted at the end, but happy.

And then, all of a sudden, Christmas beckons. My energy has returned, and just in time, as it’s now time to start decking the hall and the holly jollies. I feel renewed and I also feel determined…determined to enjoy these holidays with my children with as much care as I was able to do last week….determined to teach them how it is better to give than to receive…determined to make it magical.

As we all unleash our inner Santa this year, I thought I would share the Second (!) Annual Kitchen Confidante Holiday Gift Guide. Last year’s was so much fun, and this holiday, there are wonderful ideas for the foodies in your lives everywhere I turn. I am also very excited and pleased to let share a giveaway for the exquisite Crosby & Taylor Pewter Measuring Spoon Set I used in baking my Pear Spiced Crumb Cake (pictured above). My family and friends know that I have a penchant for measuring spoons – over the years, it has become my favorite small gift – for hostesses, friends, housewarmings – you can never have enough! I do believe it has become my signature gift. This set is just gorgeous, the cool and hefty pewter feels wonderful in the hands as you measure out ingredients. And the detailing is lovely and so perfect for the holidays. I already know whose tree this will go under!

That’s one I can cross off my list. Now for the rest.

Please scroll down for the Holiday Gift Guide, Giveaway Details, and of course, the recipe for my Pear Spiced Crumb Cake.


Kitchen Confidante Holiday Gift Guide 2011

FTC/Disclaimer: With the exception of the Crosby & Taylor Measuring Spoons with Pewter Post, items in this gift guide were in no way sponsored by their respective companies. Regardless, items selected in this gift guide were chosen solely by me, and they are gifts I would love to buy for loved ones (and for myself!). Some are available at major retailers, and some support talented artisans and small businesses, however, all may be purchased online, and I provide links for you to do so. Happy holidays and happy shopping!

Classic and timeless, Crosby & Taylor Measuring Spoons with Pewter Post will last generations in the kitchen. The craftsmanship is exquisite, and I particularly love how easy they are to use. With the pewter post, each individual measuring spoon is ready for duty – no shuffling and untangling connected spoons! The Butter Queen herself, Paula Deen, is a huge fan. Receive a 20% discount with the discount code “20CONFIDANTE” on the purchase of a measuring spoon or cup set from now through December. The elves over at Crosby & Taylor will even gift wrap for you.

A Porcelain Measuring Jug that is as functional as it is beautiful. I love the lines, inside and out. Bring it from the kitchen to the table – it’s dishwasher, microwave, freezer & oven safe! From Terrain.

From pancake batters to salads, these gorgeous Robins Egg Blue Handmade Wheel Thrown Porcelain Nested Bowls Set make prep work pretty and table serving stylish. From NewMoonStudio on Etsy.

Move over Post It Notes, annotate your favorite recipes in style with these Recipe Bookmarks Book. I can think of several cookbook hoarders lovers that would really appreciate this stocking stuffer. From Anthropologie.

Sometimes the glamor of setting the table fades. For the little foodies who need some encouragement to get their chores done, these Rules Of Etiquette Paper Placemats might just bring a little fun back to earning their allowance. From Anthropologie.

Not like you need a reminder, but if you insist! Love this Eat Sign from Terrain.

We aerate every bottle of red, I do think it makes a difference, most especially for the wines we are too impatient to enjoy. This Wine Aerator & Pourer aerates as it pours without a drip – two gadgets in one! The wine lover in your life will love you. From Williams Sonoma.

If you love wine, chances are you love cheese. My all time favorite cheeses are in this trio of Cowgirl Creamery Classics. Please, if you have not tried this cult favorite from the Bay Area, please make this the one gift you give yourself this season. It is, in a word, divine. I dare you to not finish an entire of wheel of Mt. Tam all by your lonesome. From Cowgirl Creamery.

Two cups a day. Morning and afternoon. We are serious about our coffee here and are spoiled with the best. Marin county based Equator Coffee can be found in esteemed restaurants like The French Laundry, Bouchon, and now, your coffee lover’s kitchen. We personally love their Organic French Roast, but you will surely find a flavor profile that will suit the taste buds of the coffee lover on your list. From Equator Coffees & Teas.

Of course, the true spirit of giving is best when you can give to those in need. I would be remiss to not mention PEKO PEKO: Family Friendly Japanese Recipes, a cookbook to support Japan’s recovery from the devastating earthquake last spring. It offers 120 full-color pages packed with gorgeous photography and nearly 60 family-friendly Japanese and Japanese-inspired recipes contributed by 56 of today’s best and brightest food writers, bloggers and photographers. I am humbled to say that includes yours truly. You can find my mom’s recipe for Pork & Shiitake Gyoza in its pretty pages. From Peko Peko Cookbook on Blurb.

 Crosby & Taylor Pewter Measuring Spoon Set Giveaway

I know you will love this gorgeous set from Crosby & Taylor. Be sure to check out their entire collection of artisanal products in Pewter and Ceramics for the home & kitchen. They’re on Twitter and Facebook, too. Don’t forget, you can receive a 20% discount with the discount code “20CONFIDANTE” on the purchase of a measuring spoon or cup set from now through December.

This giveaway is officially closed. Thanks to all who participated, a winner will be selected soon!

Ready to enter to win a Crosby & Taylor Pewter Measuring Spoon Set? Here’s how:

  • Please leave a comment below and feel free to share how you plan on enjoying the holidays with loved ones.
  • Entries/Comments accepted until 10 pm Pacific, Monday, 5 December, 2011.
  • One winner will be randomly selected and notified by email.
  • This contest is open to US residents only, my apologies to my international friends!

FTC: Crosby & Taylor provided an Angel Measuring Spoons Set for my review; however I was not obligated to write or recommend their products. As always, I share with you only items I sincerely feel you will love and enjoy. Crosby & Taylor will also provide one giveaway winner with an Angel Measuring Spoons Set, a $79 value.

Pear Spiced Crumb Cake


For the cake:

  •  1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 cups diced pears, divided

For the crumb topping:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and oil. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Mix in 1 cup of the pears into the cake batter. Pour into the springform pan and level with a spatula. Sprinkle the remaining pears over the top, distributing evenly.

Combine the ingredients for the crumb topping in a small bowl and mix until you achieve a crumbly texture. Scatter over the layer of pears until the cake is evenly covered.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted is clean when removed. Alternatively, you can make this cake as muffins. Bake for about 25 minutes in a muffin tin, and allow to cool for 15 minutes before retrieving from the pan.

Enjoy immediately, and best the day you bake. If you have any left over, store in an airtight container and reheat in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.

Adapted from Crumb Cake Muffins, The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook.


Comments are closed.

  1. Alicia

    plan on spending it with my parents and then my boyfriend’s parents!

  2. Brenda Perez

    Great website! For us this year, I bought different gifts and am making a game out of it for the girls. This is our first year where we had no kids living at home! We are all going to be here and so are the boyfriends and fiances. :D I also bought a very nice gift card to a restaurant. We will all play a game of Balderdash and the winner will get the card :D – forget the gift card though, I want to win those spoons! lol

    Take Care,


  3. Shannon Thompson

    we will be heading to nana’s christmas eve.. I love going there cause it is always such a great time. we bake cookies and chat and laugh.. im sad though that this year christmas falls on a sunday we wont get our full weekend over there since my hubby has to be to work on Monday morning..

    I am absolutely in love with this set.. Thank you so much for the giveaway


  4. Kita

    Wow… those spoons are amazing. I wouldn’t even want to use them! A bit backwards, but you know what I mean!
    The holidays are kind of not making their way into my house this year, which is really bumming me out. Unfortunately, bf is under a lot of stress at school and work, and asking him to stop and decorate the tree just seems like not an option. :( I am trying to muster up some joy to do it myself but that seems just as sad. It will all come about! I just know it!

    And this spiced crumb cake, I can smell it from here! Yumm!

  5. Monet

    Love your gift guide and I’m so glad to hear that you are feeling better. This pear cake looks truly inspired. Thank you for sharing with me. I hope you have a relaxing Sunday!

  6. Parsley Sage

    I’m glad you’re feeling better! It’s just the worst to be down for the count during the holidays :) The story of the baking with your daughter is priceless, I bet that was awesome!

    And great holiday guide! I want the Cowgirl Creamery Classics.


  7. Jean

    So happy that you are back in the kitchen, Liren, but I would have loved to see your little one’s face at making her own dessert. That must have been priceless.

    There’s so much to like about this post I don’t know where to start. Your crumb cake looks absolutely tasty–I love, love pears so what better way to enjoy them! The measuring spoon set is gorgeous–wouldn’t mind winning it myself. Hubs and I usually spend Christmas with my family but we are considering a last minute trip this year. Wanderlust has struck!

    Great gift ideas, too, Liren. However, I would have to remind myself that they are for giving and not for me, LOL! Have a great weekend!

    PS: I received my Eggland’s Best package–thank you so much! Among the goodies was a cute kitchen timer. Would you believe I’ve relied on alarm on my Mac Book Pro until now? Thanks so much!

  8. Kelly

    WOW your pictures are absolutely beautiful!!! What a great recipe, this crumb cake looks delicious :) If you haven’t already, feel free to stop by my blog and check out the $50 Williams-Sonoma gift card giveaway going on right now! xoxo

  9. Holly

    We will probably be spending Christmas at my sister’s house, as usual. My daughter will be unable to return home this year and husband will have to work, so it will be a little lonely this year.

    Happy holidays to you and thank you for this giveaway!

  10. Gina

    Poor thing, we are feeling a little under the weather too. I love those pretty spoons, I have a giveaway too, come enter. I’ll just be happy to curl up on the couch and watch movies with my older daughter when she gets home from college. We are keeping it simpler this year, or so I keep saying.

  11. SharonF

    Even though we are still displaced because of the terrible midwest flood of 2011, we will have Christmas at our temporary house and be thankful that we have a roof over our head and will be able to return to our home.

  12. Sara

    Happy Holidays! We try to keep things low key and not get too over scheduled to make sure we have enough time to spend together and enjoy the season. Otherwise, it gets CRAZY!

  13. Mimi

    I plan to spend them with my family…hopefully we’ll get some snow cuz I love a good snowball fight

  14. Nancy P.

    We are celebrating the holidays at home with our kids as we await our new arrival due on January 4! Who knows may be a Christmas baby! How fun! the measuring spoon set is just beautiful I would almost be afraid to use it. Glad you are feeling well again.

  15. Betty Ann @Mango_Queen

    Sorry, got carried away staring at the spoons, forgot to give my statement: Holidays have always meant family time for me. And that’s how I plan to do it again this year. Spend time with my “boys”! I wish you many blessings this holiday season, Liren!

  16. Betty Ann @Mango_Queen

    I LOVE THOSE measuring spoons, they’ve been on my wish list forevah! Hope I win. There, I’m officially entering my commment for that draw. But seriously, I love your pear crumb cake. Could use some of it right now! Thanks for sharing, Liren!

  17. BigFatBaker

    This sounds delicious! I am sorry you weren’t feeling so well last week, I am sort of feeling that way now. I love that measuring spoons are your signature gift! I think you can find some really cute sets out there, and this one is no exception.
    I am looking forward to going to Aruba for Christmas. My family switched from big celebration to trips to warmer places! :)

  18. Sharon

    My son is making the drive to stay with us, this alone will make my Christmas celebratory! And of course, lots of mom-cooking!

  19. domestic diva

    We’re going to have a huge family gathering at our house. What fun!

  20. Sarah

    This Christmas, I plan on trying to stay warm in Wyoming while I tackle making an abundance of holiday treats with my family, especially making cookies with my nephews. :)
    Merry Christmas!

  21. Elizabeth @TheBareMidriff

    This was such a lovely post! I loved your photographs, as well. I was admiring the spoon set even before I knew you were giving them away! I am a part of a blended family, so the holidays always mean lots of traveling so we can “hit” everyone within those couple of days. But traveling is worth it when it means making all those classic holiday memories!

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