Nov 7, 2010

Swedish Pear and Almond Cream Cake

When I saw that this was a sour cream cake, I knew I was going to like it--even if the pears and almond cream didn't rise to the top like they were supposed to (which they did). I love the rich, moist, slightly tangy cake you get with sour cream, and I wasn't disappointed. In fact, this cake might now make my "Top 5" list.
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.
So pretty, in a homey, unpretentious way. And so good. We had a piece for a mid-afternoon snack. Jim finished his, and immediately cut himself a second (and bigger) slice. I only had one piece and felt more virtuous than Jim, if not as happy.


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."

Teddie: "Delicious."

Sarah: "Yum. Very tasty. It really has a great moist texture."


Vicki said...

Your cake is gorgeous! Gotta love this cake. Rose really out did herself with this one. I fretted about the size of the pan, too, but figured, who cares if it came out small because the batter was already tasty! Not that I actually knew that for a fact......

Jenn said...

Gorgeous! I especially love the picture of the cake in the bavarian shape. So brown and shiny!

I had to skip this week as I had friends over and we made the Bostini again in mini espresso cups. They were so good.

But I might make this for the free choice week now...

Marie said...

That's exactly how Jim reassured me, by asking what difference it made if the pan was too large. I know you're not supposed to taste batter made with raw eggs, but I still do it.

I loved that picture too. Did you make mini cupcakes to put in the mini espresso cups? That must have been cute.

evil cake lady said...

yeah, i often taste the batter when it is one of these sour cream butter's too tempting!

marie, your crust looks so perfect, as does the rest of your cake. i love that you checked the pears' progress throughout the bake, that's something i would do too!

Maja said...

Great Job! I love your cake pan! I may have to splurg and get one myself!

Rachelino said...

Marie- your cake looks beautiful. I completely agree about sour cream cakes; I adore them, and this cake was no exception. I also wondered why this wasn't on the Quick and Easy List, too, especially as you can put together the almond cream ahead of time, but maybe it's due to breaking out (and having to wash) both the food processor and the stand mixer? Also, I am afraid I can no longer resist the charms of that cake pan. It's going on my wish list!

Melinda said...

Pretty, pretty cake. I even have that pan. Why, I should even make this!
I think I will. I love the look of it. You are getting such lovely textures on your cakes, Marie.

Andrea said...

Beautiful cake! I really love that pan.

I finally got to join the group again this week! I still need to do my blog post.

Marie said...

I had to taste both the batter and the almond cream. I'm still alive, which is good. I'll admit it was great fun watching the pears gradually sink.

I think it's my favorite cake pan! But I don't have their newest one, which is probably going to go on my wish list.

It was a nice surprise to have a cake that was such a snap to put together, wasn't it? Even if you didn't have the almond cream on tap.
Good to see your post!

Yes, you should make this cake. I'm sure it would be a great hit at the next church bake sale, but you should try it for yourself first. It would be such a good tea cake that people would be begging you to start Melinda's Tea Shoppe.

I'm glad you got to bake this cake--looking forward to reading your post.

Hanaâ said...

Now I’m really kicking myself for not buying that Bundt pan when I saw it for $15. Your cake looks gorgeous, Marie. And the inside view is just like the picture in the book. I love almonds, I love pears, and I really love baking with sour cream, but I had no time to bake this past weekend. One minor pet peeve with the recipe: almond paste. I wish the recipe included an alternative for making your own almond cream using ground almonds (the way you do for Frangipane). I’ve made Frangipane before and it’s really easy if you have a food processor. I apologize to Rose for my rant. I kinda feel like Raymond now (no offense!) :o)

Jenn said...

Marie, I baked the cupcakes regular size, as I don't have mini pans. Then I split them horizontally - so the shape is still round, and they fit pretty well into the mini cups. My friends were really impressed with the taste and the presentation in the cups.

Oh, and I also often taste cake batter, especially when there's chocolate in it :).

Marie said...

$15!! What a bargain! I hate it when I don't buy something and then regret it (almost as much as I hate it when I do buy something and then regret it).
I'm sure you could substitute your own frangipane recipe made with ground almonds--this is so easy, though.
How come everyone has all this knowledge about frangipane? I thought it was a tropical flower (spelled differently, I think).

That version sounds really attractive. I loved all the ways that people presented the Bostini.
I'm glad to know I'm not the only secret batter taster!

Jenn said...

Hanaa - that's a good idea of making almond cream/frangipane. I also prefer the idea of making it myself.

Marie - I also thought once it was a flower. The reason why I know what it is is because I made it once for danish filling.
Isn't it cool all the things we learn from this baking club. I'd like to think that we are smarter now :).

Monica said...

Seriously people, who in their right mind does not taste cake batter???? you have to, it's like THE LAW... you need to make sure the quality is up to par, I mean what if you put salt instead of sugar? or to much rum? or the wrong extract - NOT that any of the above has ever happen to me - I'm just saying.

Hanaa... the almond paste is made with ground almonds and I do have a recipe for it to make it from scratch.. tag me and I will find it and pass it down.

And I need to find a way to band the Cake pan "stay" that Tom has put on myself on buying more cake pans, because I just can not contain myself after seing all the beautiful cake pans that everyone has.

marie said...

Tell Tom that all stays are temporary.

Hanaâ said...

I also hate it when I buy something and I find it cheaper elsewhere, haha.

I've used an adaptation of Rose's recipe in the Pie & Pastry Bible. I guess what I have to figure out is, how much homemade almond cream to make to equal the amount needed for this particular cake.

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

Absolutely lovely, Marie. I can't wait to give this one a try. I think I'll use my bavarian pan like you did.


Bungalow Barbara said...

Hello everyone! I baked along with you this week. Here's the link:

I doubt I will be able to bake often enough to stay an active member, but I have been enjoying everyone's posts and no doubt will bake along once in a while.

I never met a Bundt pan I didn't want...they're all so pretty!

I was also worried at the tiny amount of batter -- but it rose up beautifully!

Bungalow Barbara said...

Oh, by the way, I also taste the raw batter -- no secret about it!

Hanaâ, the recipe says the finished amount of almond cream is 14 tablespoons or 8 ounces. (It's up above the ingredient chart.) I also was wondering if this would work with home-made frangipane starting with almonds. Let us know how it works if you try it!

Katya said...

I also love that Bavarian, but beware the imitators--Nordicware has a line of lighter, cheaper pans, but they don't give such good definition. I have the cheaper Bavarian, and it's not a great pan.

lola said...

Marie, You know how we enjoyed this cake. It is on my favorite list. Hanaa, the almond cream is so easy - I used my food processor. Marie, I want to order a pan like yours for someone to bring down to me. Can you give my info? Thanks. Nice to hear from you Barbara.

Marie said...

You're right--I mistakenly bought the cheap version of the "Rose" pan, and it had almost no definition--the rose looked like a blob.

Here's a link to the Amazon site for the Bavaria bundt pan:

Alpha Baker Joan said...

Marie, I think your cake is lovely. I almost chose that pan this time, but used the chrysanthemum instead. I really like this little cake and found it multi-purpose, morning coffee klatch, afternoon tea/coffee get-together it fits right in. I used the almond paste from Whole Foods that Rose mentions in the book. I like the flavor as it turned out in the cake.