Thursday, September 25, 2008

Walnut Pear Sour Cream Cake

Searching the "warm-and-cozy fall desserts" section on the Better Homes & Gardens Web site, I found a yummy picture and recipe for walnut pear sour cream cake. It looked simple enough, so I gave it a try for our last Garden Party potluck at our community garden. (They make great new-recipe testers!)

I don't usually make cakes -- cookies are harder to screw up. And I know that my baking-by-the-seat-of-my-pants style doesn't work so well with delicate cakes. So I followed the recipe carefully. (Though I went light on the cinnamon because it's not my favorite flavor) I used pears picked from our garden. I have a springform pan but I've never used it. I was scared, so I stuck with the 9x9x2 option.

The recipe came together without much trouble. But part way through the process I realized I had FIVE different bowls going... topping, nut mixture, pears, dry ingredients, wet stuff. Being more into the one-bowl projects, I thought that was a bit crazy.

Unfortunately, the cake was such a hit that I didn't get a photo before it was just crumbs in the bottom of my pan! I guess I shouldn't complain about such a problem :)

So the recipe wasn't hard... just more involved than I'm used to. And it was very flavorful and moist. If you have the patience to work through it, I would say it's fairly foolproof. I give it a big thumbs up (as do my awesome friends who tasted my experiment!)

-Liz :)

  • 1 cup broken walnuts
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 medium pears, peeled, cored, and sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream
  • 1/2 cup broken walnuts (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan or 9x9x2-inch baking pan. Combine the 1 cup nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon. For topping, cut the 1/4 cup butter into 1/3 cup flour to make coarse crumbs. Stir in 3/4 cup of the nut mixture. Set nut mixture and topping aside.

2. Toss pears with lemon juice; set aside. In a medium bowl combine the 1-3/4 cups flour, baking powder, soda, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl beat 1/2 cup butter with electric mixer 30 seconds. Beat in granulated sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to batter. Beat on low speed after each addition until combined.

3. Spread two-thirds batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with reserved nut mixture. Layer pears over top. Gently spread remaining batter over pears. Sprinkle with reserved topping. Bake 10 minutes. For a chunky top, sprinkle with 1/2 cup more nuts. Bake 45 to 50 minutes more or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Remove side of springform pan, if using. Cool at least 1 hour. Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired. Makes 12 servings.

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