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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hello, Neighbor

I live in one of the older neighborhoods in Anchorage, by which I mean my house was built in the 1950s.

It has real character.  There's a crotchety guy across the street and two doors down who is one of the neighborhood's original residents.  You hardly ever see him, though--he's like Boo Radley.  Maybe he even looks like Robert Duvall, but I wouldn't know.

When David and I moved in just over two years ago, one of our neighbors immediately brought us a homemade apple pie.  They explained that the former residents of our house had brought them baked goods when they moved in a year earlier.

We grew to like this couple, a lot--and not just because they wooed us with baked goods.  A friend of mine called them the "J. Crews" because they had a healthy, outdoorsy but preppy look.  Sadly, the J. Crews moved back to Oregon this past summer and we've been without new neighbors until just over a week ago.

I revived the pastry-giving tradition this past weekend for the new neighbors.  They seem like fitting successors to the J. Crews--both scientists in their 30s, very outdoorsy if maybe slightly less preppy.  Nothing says "I hope we'll be good neighbors" like a good cake.

Thank goodness this bundt cake needed to be evened off on the bottom to get it sitting sturdily in the cake carrier.  Otherwise, I fear I might not have been able to taste it.  It's just the right degree of sweet, with a bit of tang from the sour cream and good crunch from the almonds.  I highly recommend it for wooing whomever needs/deserves to be wooed in your life.

David was also grateful there were crumbs of cake left for tasting.
 Hello, Neighbor Cake
Adapted from Paula Deen

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Powdered sugar to garnish

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour a twelve-cup bundt cake pan, or spritz it with baking spray with flour.

Cream the butter with a hand mixer at medium-high speed.  When it starts to look light and fluffy, gradually add the granulated sugar and beat for an additional minute.  Add the sour cream and beat to combine.

Here's the ideal look for the butter before the sour cream is added.
 In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together, the baking soda and flour together.  Add 1/2 cup of this to the butter mixture and beat to combine.

After the initial 1/2 cup of the flour mixture is in, add an egg and beat to combine.  Add the flour mixture in five remaining installments, alternating with the eggs.

I'm not going to lie to you--this step is totally tedious, the only slow part to this cake. 
It's worth it, though.
Add the extracts and beat the mixture until just combined.

Fold in the sliced almonds.  Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for an hour and twenty minutes or until a skewer/cake tester comes out clean.

Cool on a baking rack.  Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake and invert it onto the serving plate.  Trim the bottom if necessary to get the cake to sit properly onto the plate (and to get a good snack).

Sift powdered sugar over the cake for a decoration--trust me, it's all this baby needs.

Take the cake to your neighbor if you're feeling generous. 


  1. 6 eggs! Wow! I love bundt cakes! Yours looks absolutely gorgeous! I was planning to bake one over the weekend, this sounds like a great recipe to try!

  2. I think that if I had only bundt cakes to eat for the rest of my life I would be very happy! In my opinion the cake is the single star and therefore has the best flavor. This one does look like a winner. Love the name and I wish I was your neighbor! Have a great day.

  3. Oooh, I've never had a sour cream cake, interesting! I love how moist your cake looks :)

  4. Simple and nice looking cake though sour cream inside is new to me.

  5. I LOVE CAKE, and this recipe looks FANTASTIC!!!

  6. I always like the texture of cake with sour cream. It is really a rich cake with 6 eggs and sour cream. But I like it.

  7. Hello, Neighbor Cake haha that's adorable! It looks quite delicious with those almonds!

  8. I love using sour cream in my cakes. It makes them so moist and delicious! This cake looks fabulous!

  9. It's the best tradition! I was greeted with cake when I arrived in my homeion MN and never have returned the favor. Of course no one has moved in eons... but when they do (or when I fell like it - who needs an occasion?) I will make this lovely.

  10. What a nice tradition! The cake looks amazing, too! Thanks for sharing...we just had some neighbors move in and I think I need to bake something....

  11. What a fabulous way to welcome new neighbors. You have to love someone who brings you cake!!

    When you are ready to join the Improv Challenge, please send me an email that includes your name and blog URL so I can include you. I look forward to having you as part of the group!

  12. What a great way to welcome your neighbors! Bundt cakes are so elegant & yours looks fantastic with the almonds!

  13. Thanks to everyone for the comments! The cake keeper has yet to make it back over to our house, so hopefully the new neighbors are enjoying it.

  14. You are so sweet. I wish my neighbours were that sweet. Love this cake. I love a moist, rich cake.

  15. Very nice of you to bring over baked goods!

    You would have won me over with the sour cream in the cake mix:-)

  16. I am sure your new neighbors enjoyed the cake, it looked lovely, Doesn't everybody love a good cake!

  17. What a great title and cake!! I would definitely be jumping for joy in someone brought me this cake. :) It was very sweet of you to bake it.. what a good neighbor. :)

  18. I can never have too many bundt recipes. This will be gracing my table soon.