Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pistachio Cake

This month's What's Baking theme is try something new for the new year using an ingredient, recipe, or technique that's new to you. After I received a cake order for a pistachio cake, I knew it fit the bill. I never baked with pistachios before. I've eaten pounds of them, but never had them in a cake. I imagined a sweet and salty cake with perfect amount of crunch. I set out to find the perfect recipe. My aunt told me to use the tried and true pistachio cake recipe using pistachio pudding, but I had my eye on a recipe from my Martha Stewart Cupcakes book. I converted the recipe from cupcakes to a cake and hoped for the best. What I got was a flat, dense, sickly sweet cake. I'm not sure what happened. Maybe the recipe is best left as cupcakes.

I scrapped that recipe and went back to my aunt for help. This time I got two beautiful light and fluffy pistachio cakes that rose beautifully. I topped them with vanilla buttercream and stuffed more chopped pistachios between the layers per the client's request. Then I iced the whole cake with more vanilla buttercream and topped it with some drop flowers in the requested colors. The client said it was "the best cake (he and his wife) ever had." I was thrilled. The worst part of making this cake was shelling all the pistachios.

Center of cake
Pistachio Cake

1 box white cake (or you can use your favorite white cake recipe)

1 box pistachio pudding
3 eggs
1 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a cake pan.

Blend together all ingredients, except pistachios, on medium speed for two minutes.
Fold in chopped pistachios.
Pour into cake pan and bake for 30 - 35 minutes.
Let cool and top with your favorite icing.

Vanilla Buttercream
2 sticks butter (room temperature)
4 - 5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 - 2 tablespoons water

Cream the butter. Add vanilla and water. Beat well. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time until desired consistency is reached and beat well.

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