This dessert-like breakfast is the perfect indulgence for the holiday season.

Layering the ingredients in this coffee cake recipe right into the pan lets you skip the steps of making the batter and the nut topping separately. To make this healthy one-bowl dessert so it can be served like "pull-apart" rolls, dollop 16 equal portions of batter over the nuts. If you don't want to fuss with that, dollop the batter on top however you like.

Upside-Down Cinnamon-Pecan Coffee Cake

Serves 16

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

2 cups toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, divided

2 3/4 cups white whole-wheat flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, letting it overhang the sides; coat with cooking spray.

Spread pecans and brown sugar in the prepared pan; sprinkle with cinnamon and a pinch of salt, then drizzle with vanilla. Evenly distribute 5 tablespoons of the butter pieces over the nut mixture.

Whisk flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Work the remaining 7 tablespoons butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, two knives or your fingertips until it's pea-sized. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Pour in buttermilk, and stir just until combined. Cover the nut mixture with dollops of dough (about 1 heaping tablespoon each); it's OK if there are a few uncovered spots.

Bake the coffee cake until bubbling around the edges and barely starting to brown on top, about 35 minutes. Invert a serving platter or cutting board on top of the hot cake; holding both, carefully turn them over and remove the baking pan. Spoon any stray topping back onto the cake. Let cool for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

(EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at