I made substitutions and still, the cake came out delicious. I used a white cake mix instead of a yellow cake mix, fresh pears instead of canned, and raisins instead of walnuts as these were what I have on hand. I had difficulty mixing the batter using a hand mixer. The batter went up the beaters and got the mixer base dirty. If you were to substitute raisins for walnuts, add it after 30 minutes of baking or after baking so it won't get burnt.