Apple and Pear Coffee Cake with Brioche


The University of Minnesota is a leader in developing new varieties of apples. Among them are the Haralson, Honeycrisp, Prairie Spy and dozens more. The latest to hit the markets is the Sweetango. The new apple is sweet and juicy, like its mother (Honeycrisp), but it has a little more acid to it, from dad (Zestar). The combination is incredibly tasty with a lovely snap.

I moved here from Vermont where the quintessential baking apple was the McIntosh. Now that I live in the land of 10,000 lakes and almost as many apples I like to use a variety of them in my baking. I combine apples that will break down and those that will keep their shape. I also like to use some that are sweet and others that have a bit more acid. To add a bit of perfume and richness to the mix I add a bit of pear.

This coffee cake is a perfect way to show off the autumns best apples. Mixed with brioche and streusel topping the cake is great for brunch or an after school snack. Apple and Pear Coffee Cake

The Streusel Topping:

1 cup oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar, well packed

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1 cup melted butter

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

The Cake:

1 pound (grapefruit-size portion) Brioche dough (page 189) – You will notice that I have decreased the amount of dough, because the technique I’m using in this post is slightly different. Either way will result in the same cake.

2 small apples (1 tart and 1 sweet, thinly sliced)

1 large pear, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons brown sugar

zest of half an orange

1 1/2 cups streusel topping (above)

To make the streusel: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss until well combined.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare an 8-inch x 3-inch round cake pan or an 8-Inch Nonstick Springform with grease, a round piece of parchment and a dusting of flour or sugar.


Split the pound of dough in two equal pieces, form them into balls and roll them out to be just slightly wider than the cake pan. place one of the disks of dough in the prepared pan. It should come up the sides just a bit.


Combine the apples, pear, brown sugar and zest in a bowl. Spread half of the apple mixture on the first layer of dough.


cover with about 3/4 cup streusel. Repeat with other layer of dough, rest of apples and another 3/4 cup streusel. Let the cake rest for 1 hour and 20 minutes.


Bake for about 45 minutes, until tester comes out of the center clean. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake.


If you used the cake pan, invert the pan onto a plate. Lift the pan off the cake.


Peel the parchment paper off the bottom of the cake and then invert onto a cake plate.


Make coffee or tea and enjoy!

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95 thoughts on “Apple and Pear Coffee Cake with Brioche

  1. Oh my goodness! I just did this in about a 8 x 3 in loaf pan and its amazing!! I didn’t have oats, so I ended up crushing up Granola bars I had lying around the house and cutting back on the brown sugar. I also didn’t have any pears and only 2 apples. Still works out!! But for the loaf pan you might need slightly more dough than a pound if you want a little more bread. If not, then mmmmmm such a great recipe!!

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      I have never tried it in this recipe, but I don’t see why not? If you try it, let me know how it goes!

      Thanks, Zoë

  2. Bagel dough, p. 198 New Artisan Bread. I made bialys twice from this dough. I can’t get the center to stay flat when it bakes. The second time I took extra care to really flatten the center and press the onion down, but they still puffed up in the oven. Tastes good though!

  3. I know this is a really old post of yours, but I was searching for more “Brioche coffee cake” and this came up. As I type, the recent blueberry one is in my oven! I made the jam yesterday from berries off my own bushes. So excited to taste this in a little while.

    And something else caught my eye in this post: the mention of the Sweet Tango Apples! These first started showing up in the PNW a few years ago. They seem to come into the stores rather randomly, and believe me, when i see them I snatch them up! I wish they were distributed more consistently around here.

    And PS: I was the lucky winner of the wooden rolling pin you gave away a couple of years ago. I use it whenever I make a pie crust and and used it tonight when I rolled out the discs of dough for the blueberry coffee cake. Thanks again for that!

    1. So nice to hear from old friends Sandra, glad the recipes are working for you. Including ones from the past, we pretty much never take anything down so these stay as a resource for our readers.

  4. This recipe has beenon my list to try for many years, probably since it was posted. I finally made it and it’s so yummy, I really wish I’d made it sooner!

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