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Baking with mum: Sour Cream and Pecan Cake

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Growing up, mum used to bake something sweet and delicious most weekends. Dad has a sweet tooth in the traditional Italian style: In other words, he likes lots of nuts and creamy flavours. As a result, much of what mum would bake would have some kind of nut, cheese or dairy element. Her inspiration would come from a number of cookbooks but none more than The Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Cakes and Slices Cookbook.’ Her well leafed copy is firmly pressed at page 45 where dad’s all-time favourite, the Pecan and Sour Cream Cake can be found.

Mum spent many a Saturday afternoon, firing up the trusty Sunbeam Mixmaster and filling it with eggs, flour, sugar and sour cream as she created this delightful dessert. The smell of it baking still lingers in my nostrils all these years later, as does the taste of the cake mix, licked straight from the beaters. So. Darn. Good.

This moist, nutty cake is somewhere between a cake and a dessert and never fails to please. It’s perfect with a little extra cream and served with a cup of tea or coffee or as a special occasion cake (which is what I made mine for last week.) It was my Aunty Josie’s 50th birthday, and so I decided to bake this cake for her. Matt and I were heading to Mount Hotham for a long weekend, and so mum, Aunty Josie and two friends stayed at our place. I decked it out with pretty soaps, a fridge full of nibblies and left this cake on the kitchen bench as her birthday cake. I don’t have a Mixmaster like mum, but I do have a beautiful, apple green KitchenAid named Gigi. She did the job well and my Aunty loved it.

This brings me to another reason mum used to bake; for my birthday. For the first few years of my life, mum would bake the most spectacular cakes for my birthdays. Mostly, from the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Children’s Birthday Cake Book’ which is now a classic. I remember flicking through the colourful, glossy pages of this now vintage cookbook, dreaming about all the amazing cakes mum could conjure up for me to share with my friends.

Among the cakes she made for me, my siblings and cousins were the Puss in Boots, an array of numbers and the space themed astronaut cake. These cakes were not only food but a work of art, and definitely instilled my love of baking from an early age.

So thanks mum for letting me lick the beaters and for taking the time to create such delicious memories, always baked with love. I’m now going to share my version of the Pecan and Sour Cream Cake with you so you too can bake it for that special someone in your life. Enjoy!

Sour Cream and Pecan Cake

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  • 270g butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
  • ¾ cup of caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 300g carton of sour cream
  • 1 ¼ cups of wholemeal, plain flour
  • ½ cup of wholemeal, self-raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup finely chopped pecans
  • 3tbs brown sugar
  • 1tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a deep, 23cm round cake pan.

Cream butter, essence and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Beat eggs in, one at a time.

Stir in sour cream and add sifted flours and baking powder.

I’ve used wholemeal but you can use white flour in the same quantities.

Spread half of the cake mixture into the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle with half of the combined nuts and sugar. Spread evenly with the remaining cake mixture and sprinkle the rest of the sugar and nuts on top.Bake for up to 1 hour, depending on your oven. Check with a skewer to ensure its cooked through. Stand for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.The wholemeal flour gives it a drier texture. The pecans can also be replaced with any nut you like; walnuts or almonds would also work well.

Download the printer-friendly version of this recipe here

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