Pistachio and Lemon Cake

My Dad has been complaining that all the cakes I bake are “too sweet”. Last time I saw my family I brought home a triple layer chocolate cake covered with chocolate ganache (photo of the cake in my second blog post). I am not sure I could have made the cake any less sweet (and I am not sure I would have wanted to either). It’s now Easter weekend. Time for a bit more baking! I searched for a bake which would appeal to my Dad’s more savoury palette.

Waitrose pistachio and lemon cake
Waitrose pistachio and lemon cake

I found a Waitrose receipe for a pistachio and lemon cake; it looked mouth-wateringly good and would hopefully be a bit less sweet.

My first job was to shell the pistachios. Lots of pistachios in fact (I needed 100gs worth). I am sure you can probably buy pistachios which are already shelled but I couldn’t find any in the shops so had to do it myself.

Pistachios
Pistachios

I whizzed up the pistachios in a food processor, and then added one egg white, 75g of icing sugar and 50g of ground almonds. The ingredients came together easily, and made a green, sticky, paste. It tasted really good

Ground pistachios
Ground pistachios
Ground pistachio, almond, icing sugar and an egg white
Ground pistachio, almond, icing sugar and an egg white

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Next the sponge. A pretty basic sponge receipe. I creamed 175g of slightly salted butter and 75g of golden caster sugar, the zest of two lemons, 225g of self raising sugar and a teaspoon of baking powder. When the mixture was pale and creamy I added a squeeze of lemon.

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Now for for the difficult bit. I took out the green pistachio paste, I had already dusted my work surface with icing sugar. I was then meant to roll out the mixture into two circles. The mixture was having other ideas however, and kept sticking to the work surface. It was really difficult to handle. The recipe stated they should be slightly smaller than the size of the cake tins. By this point I was getting a bit frustrated – it wasn’t doing what I wanted it to and was looking a bit of a mess.

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I put a quarter of the sponge mix in an already greased and lined 20cm loose bottomed cake tin. On top of the mixture I placed (or dropped) one of the green circles (it had holes in it) and then covered it with another quarter of the sponge mix. It didn’t look like there much in the cake tin, and I was worried I wasn’t going to have enough sponge mix for the other tin. I followed what I had done for the first cake tin with the second. Luckily I had just enough cake mix.

I put the cakes in an already 180 degree heated oven for 35-40 minutes. When they were springy soft and golden brown I took them out, and let them cool on wire rack.

I made a lemon buttercream and used it to sandwich the two halves of the cakes together. I covered the cake with chopped pistachios and icing sugar.

The finished cake!
The finished cake!

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The cake looked ok, definitely not as fluffy and is in the magazine, and the sponge not as thick. I am not sure if it needs a bit more sponge mix to give it added height. The taste was delicious (the whole family agreed), the texture wasn’t quite right. Not as moist as other cakes I have made but I think I overworked the mixture too much. If you like pistachios this cake is for you!

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Pistachio and Lemon Cake