While I love all kinds of cakes, I have a special fondness for simple, casual cakes that are single-layer and fuss-free. And that is exactly how I would describe this Pear Sour Cream Sheet Cake. Its vanilla-scented sweet pear flavor and brown sugar/sour cream topping are positively delicious, but it’s no trouble at all to make, which makes it the ideal thing to bake when you just want to have a little something sweet hanging around in your kitchen to cut a slice of when the mood strikes. You don’t need a birthday or a party to justify it – it’s sweet and special, but it’s everyday fare.
The cake itself is a simple one, butter based and not requiring any fancy ingredients or techniques. Just mix everything together, pour the batter into a sheet pan, and top the whole thing with sliced canned pears. The canned pears make life easy – they’re sweet and soft and fruity but you don’t need to do any poaching or peeling to make them that way.
While the pears lend a nice moisture to the cake and a fruity sweetness, the easy topping takes things up a notch. I’ve always loved a sour cream topping on cheesecake and it turns out to work just as well on a cake like this. You just stir together sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla, and spread it over the pears. As it bakes, it firms up and makes the cake look a bit more uniform – you can still see the outline of the pears, but they’re covered in a light golden glossy blanket.
I love the way the subtle tang of the sour cream, the caramel note in the brown sugar, and the clean sweetness of the pears work together here. The cake itself supports that trio without taking anything away – it’s basic but not bland and has a nice moist crumb. It’s a quick cake, a simple cake, but oh my, is it delicious!
Pear Sour Cream Sheet Cake
Serves 12 Prep 10m Cook 30m
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 (29 oz) can pear halves, drained
For the topping:
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter or nonstick spray.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.
- Spread batter into prepared baking dish. Cut pear halves into slices and arrange in a row on top of batter.
- Stir together sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla extract for topping and spread over pears.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.