I had quite a conversation about the name of this cake with a friend/coworker and my husband. The friend came over to make use of some tools and (my husband’s, not my) expertise with replacing the rotors on his (girlfriend’s) car. After the guys took the car for a test drive, they came inside to chat, and I offered up some cake. The two of them ganged up on me a bit over the title of the cake. The exchange went something like this:
“What kind of cake is it?”
“Swedish pear and almond cream cake”
“Does it have Swedish pears in it?”
“No, Bartlett pears.”
“Well, does it have cream in it?”
“What about almonds?”
“Well, it has ‘almond cream’ in it.”
“Then you should call it Swedish … pear … and … almond cream … cake, not Swedish pear … and almond … cream cake.”
So, when we went out for dinner later with this couple later, and the girlfriend asked what kind of cake it was this weekend, I was very explicit in my pauses in the title. 😛
The cake batter is pretty simple, but I struggled a little with the rest of it. The batter itself is a basic sour cream cake. I suspect if I looked hard enough, I could find the same basic recipe elsewhere in either The Cake Bible or Rose’s Heavenly Cakes.
You start by combining your dry ingredients, then add the butter and most of the sour cream. Beat thoroughly, to develop the structure. The rest of the sour cream gets mixed in with the eggs and vanilla, and this gets added in 2 additions, beating for 30 seconds after each.
I don’t know about anyone else, but the only place I could find almond paste was at the Bulk Barn. I don’t know if their stock is dried out, or if it’s just the way almond paste is, but I couldn’t really get it ground with the sugar to a state I would call “fine”. Little pellets of almond paste was as close as I could get.
Add the butter, and you get something that kind of looks like creamed butter and sugar. Add the eggs, flour and vanilla, and you get something kinda eggy and sweet.
After spreading the batter in the pan, you carve out a trench for the almond cream. You apparently don’t want this stuff touching the sides of the pan, and I can definitely see why (ooh… foreshadowing…).
Pour in the almond cream, then lay the pears on top of it. The almond cream and pears are supposed to sink to the bottom so that they become the topping when the cake is inverted out of the pan.
Maybe I didn’t spray the pan well enough. Maybe I didn’t jiggle the cake up and down enough in the pan (weirdest instructions for releasing a cake ever). Maybe I didn’t hold my tongue the right way when inverting the pan… Regardless, my cake came out, but most of my topping didn’t. 😦
Ah well. I can say it tasted good. I can also say that I’m told it disappeared quickly when Jay took the leftovers to work. I was in training all day today (and will be tomorrow, too) so I figured I’d let him have this one. I didn’t get to gather any detailed impressions, because I wasn’t there when people ate it. I personally thought the cake part itself was a bit dry, but that may have had something to do with me leaving it on the counter uncovered for too long. Might make this one again some time, just to see if I can get it to turn out a bit better. We’ll see.