Nov 7, 2010
I breezed through this cake. It was so easy to make, I assumed it was on the "Quick and Easy" list, but it's not. Maybe because you have to go through the extra step of making the almond cream?
I had a tube of unmarked almond-y smelling paste in the freezer, but was it marzipan or almond paste? I couldn't remember. Once I stopped sniffing the unidentified tube, and stopped dithering about whether I should just use it or go to the store and get something labeled "almond paste," I put together the almond cream in about a minute.
The cake batter presented no problems, either--just a simple butter cake (with sour cream, of course). A rich, creamy batter that filled only about half the cake pan, making me wonder if I had the right size pan. And it was easy enough to slice the pears.
Jim suggested that the reason the cake wasn't on the Q&E list was because of the trough you have to make in the top of the cake. After making the trough, you fill it with the almond paste, which has been sitting patiently in a bowl, just waiting to be added to the cake.
And then pear slices are layered on top.
I was sure there was no way the pears and almond cream were going to miraculously make their way to the top of the cake, as pictured. They were both solidly placed on the bottom. I turned the oven light on, and checked The Pears' Progress about every 10 minutes. Sure enough, I could see that they were sinking into the batter. And, by the way, this cake smells wonderful while it's baking. If you ordered up a particular smell to remind you of a crisp, sunny fall day, you couldn't do better than this.
When I took it out of the oven, it looked solidly embedded into the pan. I didn't think it would come out in one piece. But, again, the cake followed the instructions and flipped right out. Very handsome, if I do say so.
And look! It's just like the picture in the book, with the subtle layer of pears and almond cream at the top.
Karen: "Elegant and smooth. I just love that pan, too--the cake is just gorgeous. Although I love chocolate, the cakes that have fruit in them have been my favorites. I know you've made some really complicated cakes, and it's nice that something this simple can taste so good."
Jim: "I was surprised at how many different flavors there are in this cake, and especially how prominent the taste of pears was."
Sarah: "Yum. Very tasty. It really has a great moist texture."
Posted by Marie at 10:51 PM