Let’s go to Argentina, shall we? No, seriously. Someone get us a couple of tickets and let’s go, because I want to visit Paula’s Vintage Kitchen.
I was excited to meet Paula on Twitter after she commented on a few of my blog posts and shared them with her readers. It was that introduction that led me to her blog, where I found it to be reminiscent of coming home after being gone for so long. To me, it’s a place of comfort, joy, and memories. Upon my daily visits, I can breath in the aroma and am left with an aching hunger.
Not everyone can write a food blog, but Paula does it with flair and down-home sophistication. She makes eveything look delicious, yet simple. Her blog speaks to me because I’ve always had a fondness for learning about other cultures, the people, history, and yes, food.
When it comes to writing, I can be kind of snobby, but Paula does it with such ease and she draws you into her world of not only food, but also her handmade textiles, where she uses old tenchiques and local materials. (see: “Another Side of Me“)
Paula originally contacted me at the end of March, stating that she’d like to post something on April 18th. I had four choices: Cinnamon Sugar Challah, Pear Almond Cake, Peanut Butter Banana Loaf and Quinoa, or Peas and Harissa Chicken Salad. It was a difficult decision for me to make. Finally, I chose the Pear Almond Cake, because of my love for pears.
A week later, I began the April A-to-Z Challenge and at first I was like, “Uh oh! Paula is supposed to guest post during that time.” I was prepared to write to her and tell her that I might have to change the dates. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been a problem, but as I calculated the dates with the letters of the alphabet, it turns out that the letter, “P” fell on the 18th. Whew! Is that great timing or what?
So join me in thanking Paula for being here. It’s truly an honor and I hope that she comes back! Maybe we can bring her here again to post the other recipes I had to choose from, yes?
Hey everyone, I´m obviously Paula, and quite smitten to be guest posting here, meeting all of Gina´s readers, whom I think, are quite diverse. A nice addition to the foodies that visit my food blog everyday.
I found her blog via twitter, I think it was this post on how to provide technical support, that I read first. I was hooked. She made me laugh, and I value that a lot, especially today, when the internet is so full of information it´s hard to read things that grab our attention, and feel I have the attention span of a squirrel.
I can always count on her to perk up the beginning of the week with her monday funnies; man they´re so good. And her 80´s post is probably the best recopilation ever. If you were a teenager in the 80´s, or close, it should be mandatory to read it. And her views of social media…
But since you know her already, I will go straight to the food. I´m a food blogger, so my contribution is cake. Because you can´t go wrong with cake, right? It´s one of the best ones in my files, and a crowd pleaser.
The cake I´m sharing today was chosen by her from a few options I had. And I think it fits this blog well, since it´s really a simple cake and not some elaborate recipe that only food bloggers can be interested in.
Last year I sold a Cafe I had in Buenos Aires, where I live, and this was, together with a carrot cake, a best seller. By far. I never quite knew why, because nothing stands out really. But maybe it´s just that simplicity that attracts people. And it tastes so darn good.
The first time I made it I had bought a cute cake stand, so I thought I´d rotate different cakes each week. I even had a list of all the ones I wanted to make. Fat chance. I sold it in a nano second and had to have it everyday from that day on. The crankiness of some customers when they didn´t find it!
You´ll start with a slice and a cup of whatever you drink, and then find the cake half eaten at the end of the day. How did that happen?
We´re in the middle of fall, being in the southern hemisphere, but the good thing is that pears are good year round. Though most types appear in the fall, together with apples, this cake can be made whenever you need or want to. And it´s good with apples too. Or walnuts instead of almonds. Can´t go wrong with this recipe.
PEAR AND ALMOND CAKE
Adapted from The Magnolia Bakery, by Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey
Makes 8 servings
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup + 2 Tbs vegetable oil
3 eggs, room tº
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup confectioners´ sugar
2 or 3 Tbs lemon juice
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter or spray a 9-inch round tube pan. Dust with fine dry crumbs or flour.
Put almonds in the bowl of a food, fitted with the steel blade, and process until coarsely ground. Transfer to small bowl. Don´t clean processor.
Cut pears in half, core and cut into chunks. Add them to the same fod processor bowl, with the steel blade, and process until you have small pieces but not a puree. It takes about 10 seconds.
Both almonds and pears can be finely chopped by hand.
In a large bowl sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in center and add oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until it becomes to thick to handle. There will still be dry parts. Change to a wooden spoon or sturdy whisk, and add the pears. Mix by hand a few minutes until it is thoroughly combined. The pears will release some moisture and it will be easier to mix. Or do everything by hand with a sturdy whisk from the beginning.
Add almonds, mix well and pour into prepared pan.
Bake for about 45 to 50, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. It might take longer, depending on the oven.
Let cool on a wire rack and then unmold onto the serving platter.
Drizzle glaze on top and serve.
For the glaze:
Put sugar in a small bowl, add lemon juice and mix well until no lumps remain.
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