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.