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Makes one 10-inch cake, 16 - 20 servings

• 1-1/2 cups sour cream
• 1 teaspoon baking soda

Nut Mixture
• 1-1/4 cups toasted pecans (pg.000)
• 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
• 1-3/4 cups superfine sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and baking soda. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Position the rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 10-inch tube pan and line the bottom with baking parchment. Butter the parchment and set aside.

Make the nut mixture
Place the pecans, granulated and dark brown sugars, and cinnamon in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse 5 or 6 times or until the nuts are medium chopped. Set aside.

Make the batter
In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.

Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and place in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth and lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, taking 6 to 8 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla extract.

Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream, dividing the flour into four parts and the sour cream into three parts, starting and ending with the flour.  Mix until just blended after each addition. Scrape down the side of the bowl again.

Spoon two-thirds of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle one-half of the nut mixture evenly over the batter. Cover the mixture with the remaining batter, distributing it evenly over the nuts. Smooth the batter with the back of a large soupspoon or a small offset spatula, spreading it to the side of the pan first, before spreading it toward the center. (To prevent the nut mixture from being disturbed, do not pick up the spoon as the batter is spread.) Sprinkle with the remaining nut mixture, pressing it gently into the batter with a clean soupspoon.

Bake the cake for about 1 hour, and 10-15 minutes. The cake is done when the top is golden brown, springy to the touch, and a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted deeply in the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and let stand on a cooling rack for 25 to 30 minutes. Holding the tube, lift the cake from the outer ring and place it on the cooling rack.  Cool for another 20 to 30 minutes. To remove the cake from the tube section, cut a 2-inch hole in the center of a 12-inch piece of aluminum foil and place it directly onto the top of the cake, cupping the foil around the side to hold the topping in place. Cover with a cooling rack, invert the cake, and carefully lift off the tube section and the parchment paper. Cover with another rack and invert again. Remove the aluminum foil and cool right side up.

Store the cake under a glass cake dome, or tightly covered with plastic wrap for up to 5 days. This cake may be frozen.

Recipe from Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More by Carole Walter (Clarkson Potter Publishers; October 2007; $35.00)

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