Suzi's Blog

Pistachio and Lemon Cake from World Class Cakes

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From the back of the book, you learn that Roger Pizey is a renowned baker and patissier. His experiences in Great Britain, in top restaurants and television food shows, have given him eminent skills.

But as you turn the pages of World Class Cakes, his latest book, none of that matters. All that you will care about is how quickly you can get to baking yourself.

Tomorrow, I’ll post an overview of this powerfully packed book with recipes that are, truly, from around the world. In a tribute to Turkish ingredients, Roger has created this cake filled with lemon flavor and pistachio crunch. The cake is spectacularly beautiful.  As you turn pages of World Class Cakes, you’ll stop on many pages, but this one captured my attention and Suzen’s. She likes lemons, but pistachios are a passion for her.

Roger is British. So the temperature and dimensions you’ll see below may not match your oven settings or the cake rounds on your shelf. We did 325°F and a 7-inch round. No problem.

Pistachio and Lemon Cake

Yield: serves 8

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup superfine sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • ½ cup [1 stick] utter, soft
  • ¾ cup superfine sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup good quality pistachios, chopped
  • Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 310°F, and grease and line a 6 ¼ inch round and 2 1/ inch deep cake pan with parchment paper.

Make a sugar syrup by heat the ½ cup super fine sugar and ½ cup of water in a pan. Cook over low heat until clear, stirring continuously, then boil for a minute or so. Pass the liquid through a strainer. Removed from the heat and let cool.

Place lemon and the lime slices and sugar syrup in a pan and gently simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, and add the eggs on at a time.

Sift in the flour, salt, and baking powder, then add two-thirds of the pistachios, the lemon and lime zests, and the lemon juice. Mix well.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, place the fruit slices on top and sprinkle over the remaining pistachios. Bake in a preheated oven 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clear.

Removed from the oven and let cool for 15minutes in the pan. Then turn the cake out onto a wire rack and strip off the parchment.

Ideally, serve with a glass of aromatic Turkish tea.

Source: World Class Cakes by Roger Pizey

Photo Information [top picture]: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/2.8 for 1/25th second at ISO-3200

 

 

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Holiday Honey Dessert: Aunt Sassy Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

slice of cake

This week has featured honey-based recipes for the coming spring holidays. Here’s a dessert for you, a cake I blogged about before, and a cake I could blog about every day. This is my favorite non-chocolate dessert. Yes, I do eat such delicacies. And this cake is help trigger the transition. It’s a beautiful to behold and a delight in your mouth. Pair this cake with a lovely dessert wine to complete your holiday feast.

Aunt Sassy Cake

Yield: one 8-inch, 3-layer cake

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • 2 ½ cups cake flour ■
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda •
  • ¾ teaspoon salt ‘
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened ‘
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

 

Ingredients for the Honey Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons honey

 

Ingredients for Assembly:

  • cup crushed shelled pistachios

 

 

Preparation:

Make the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pistachios until they are coarsely chopped. Transfer about 2 tablespoons’ worth of the coarse pistachios to a large bowl. Continue to process the rest of the pistachios until they are almost powdery—but not a superfine dust. Stir the pistachio powder into the reserved coarse pistachios. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together over the large bowl containing the pistachio mix. Stir to combine.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, add the whole egg, and beat until just combined. Turn the mixer to low.

In a measuring cup, make 1 ½ cups ice water. Add the flour mixture to the mixer in three parts, alternating with the ice water, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. For each addition, turn the mixer to low to add ingredients, then up to medium speed for a few seconds until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form (You can do this by hand. Don’t be intimidated, it should only take 2 to 3 minutes). Do not overbeat. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack and let cool completely. Remove the parchment paper.

Make the Honey Vanilla Buttercream:

 

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool (this takes at least 7 to 9 minutes of mixing; you can speed up the process by pressing bags of frozen berries or frozen corn against the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl). Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the vanilla and honey and continue mixing until combined. If the frost­ing is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.

Assemble the Cake:

 

Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface, and evenly spread about 1 ¼ cups frosting on top. Add the next layer, trim and frost it, then add the third layer. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake and put it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up. (This is known as crumb coating and will help to keep loose cake crumbs under control when you frost the outside of the cake.) Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish the cake with crushed pistachios and refrigerate it for 15 minutes to it firm up before serving.

This cake will keep beautifully in a cake saver at room temperature for up to 3 days, if the weather is cool and humidity free. Otherwise, put it in a cake saver and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. Let the cake sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.

Source: Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis