In my Sunset Cookbook challenge I have had my first failure, and it was on an epic scale. I made two of these cakes at the same time but did not double the recipe for fear that it wouldn’t come out the same. I did everything twice, following the recipe to a tee. My plan was to give one to my neighbor as a good will gesture after Louis’s uninvited visit to their place. I put my beautiful cakes in the oven, set the timer, watched over them, moved them when the sticky topping starting smelling burned, poked them with a bamboo skewer until it came out clean, let them cool 15 minutes before turning, only to end up with this:
WHAT? Had I done something wrong, twice? Nope. I thought maybe it would taste good despite it’s wretched appearance. Nope. I won’t even include Michael’s comment after I made him taste it. I found three reviews online for this recipe, all glowing. So I am left to wonder what went wrong.
But, as I always do, Here’s the recipe from Sunset:
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, plus more for pan
- 2 Bosc pears, cored, peeled, and cut into 1/4-in.-thick slices
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1 cup chopped pecans, divided
- 1/3 cup bourbon
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup plain whole or low-fat yogurt
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Generously butter a 9-in. cake pan and arrange pear slices in a pattern on the bottom of pan. Set aside.
- 2. Bring 1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a 10-in. frying pan (not nonstick) over medium-high heat. Lower heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook, undisturbed, until mixture starts to brown (swirl pan to help mixture brown evenly). When mixture turns a medium amber color, add 1/2 cup pecans and cook until fragrant but not burning, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and slowly stir in bourbon and 1/2 tsp. salt. Pour over pears in buttered pan.
- 3. Put 3/4 cup butter, the brown sugar, and remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl. Beat until smooth and a bit fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Add half of the flour and beat until combined. Then beat in half of the yogurt. Repeat with remaining flour and yogurt. Stir remaining 1/2 cup pecans into batter (it will be thick).
- 4. Drop spoonfuls of batter over pears and sauce and spread evenly. Bake cake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool on a rack 15 minutes. Run a knife between cake and pan sides and invert cake onto a plate or serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
After the big girls finished with the first cake a broody Mama let her babies eat cake. The real story here is that at least half of those babies have been kidnapped. She only has four. I let them sort it out.