Delicate Pear Cake w/ Caramel Sauce

I was requested to make this cake for a dinner tonight. I have been wanting to have this cake since the fall, which is when I usually make it so they didn't have to twist my arm to fulfill the request. It isn't something that appeals to my kids because of all the nuts so I have to make it when there will be a lot of people to eat it. I think it is the caramel sauce that my friends love.

16 oz. can pear halves in extra light syrup
1 pkg. white cake mix *
1/3C oil
3 egg whites

1C whipping cream
2T sugar
1t vanilla
16 oz. can pear halves in extra light syrup
1/2C finely chopped hazelnuts or walnuts, toasted

1C brown sugar
1C whipping cream
1/2C butter

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 10" tube pan. Drain pear halves reserving 1/3C liquid. Place pear halves in food processor with metal blade, process until smooth. In large bowl combine cake mix, pureed pears, reserved liquid, oil, and egg whites at low speed. Pour into pan. Bake 40-45 minutes. Cool upright in pan for 15 minutes; invert onto serving plate, cool completely.

In small bowl beat cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold in vanilla. Frost cake. Cut pear halves lengthwise into 32 slices. Arrange on top of cake slightly overlapping. Press nuts into sides of cake. Refrigerate until serving time.

In medium saucepan, combine sauce ingredients; bring to boil. Boil over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature. Drizzle 2T sauce over pear slices.

To serve, spoon about 2T sauce onto individual dessert plates. Place slice of cake on sauce. Store cake and sauce in refrigerator.

* High altitude - above 3500 ft. Add 1/4C flour to dry cake mix. Bake as directed

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