For cake batter:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp fine salt
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 pears ripe but still firm, peeled or unpeeled, halved and cored
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup flaked almonds optional
- Crème Fraîche alternately whipped cream or ice cream
- Preheat oven to 350 F. with rack in centre of oven. Prepare a 10-inch springform pan by spraying with baking spray and lining the bottom ring with parchment paper. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.
- Prepare the pears: You can peel the pears if you like, or simply leave the peel on. Cut in half down from the stem end to the bottom. Scoop out the core with a spoon and remove the stem spine and bottom blossom end. Place cut side down on a cutting board and cut each half in to 1/4-inch-ish slices. Transfer the sliced halves to the prepared baking pan, cut side down, fanning out the slices slightly. Arrange the sliced halves in a ring around the outside of the pan. The sliced halves should just touch each other in the centre and fan out slightly towards the outside edges. The centre couple of inches should be empty. You may or may not need all your pears. Simply fill until it's filled around. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with an electric beater or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and the 1 cup of sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
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