Friday, July 1, 2011

Almond & Pistachio Cake

Happy July, everyone! Whaddya know? I'm here again, quicker than I thought I would be. :) Thank you all SO MUCH for the wonderful "welcome back" in my last post. Your sweet comments, tweets, retweets and emails make me feel so loved! I am really humbled and honoured. Truly, I am.

A few days after, I found myself in the kitchen ... baking. ;) Must have been all the positive energy you guys sent my way!

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With pistachios leftover from making Baklava, I contemplated baking Italian Pistachio Cookies since they were such a hit the last time, but decided hmmm ... maybe I should try making something else. Then I saw this Almond & Pistachio Cake on Good Food Channel, and the tantalising intro read:

"A damp, delicious and very special cake ... enjoy with a cup of Italian coffee for the true cafe experience."

Mama mia, sounds good already! Here it is ...

(from Good Food Channel)

Note: I halved the proportions of everything. It yielded a very small cake - enough for 6 slices ... which is plenty, given how rich it is.

- 250g butter, softened (I think you can cut back on the butter a bit ... maybe to 200 to 220g?)
- 200g caster sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 120g ground almonds
- 100g ground pistachio nuts
- 50g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons

For the pistachio topping*
- 60g caster sugar
- Freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons
- 60g pistachio nuts, chopped
* Note: Good thing I tasted the syrup before adding the pistachios, because I didn't like it at all. Bleah. So I decided to make a honey pistachio topping instead, getting some inspiration from Middle Eastern flavours. Here's what I used:

- 1 or 2 tbsp honey, basically enough to coat the pistachios
- A pinch of cinnamon
- A drop or 2 of rosewater
- 60g pistachio nuts (or more, if you like), roughly chopped

For the cake
1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs, a little at a time, and beat until firmly incorporated.

3. Stir in the ground almonds and pistachios, the flour and baking powder*, and the lemon zest.
* It's better to first mix the flour and baking powder together (in a separate bowl), before adding them into the batter.

4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes (if you halved the measurements like me, then 30 minutes or so)*, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven.
* Do note that this cake browns quite quickly, you might want to tent with a foil halfway through.

For the topping
5a. (What the original recipe says)
Meanwhile, make the topping. Heat the caster sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Stir in the pistachios. When the sugar has completely dissolved, pour the mixture evenly over the cake. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out and serve cut into slices.

5b. (What The Little Teochew did - and very differently too!)

Allow cake to cool in pan for about 10mins before turning it out onto a wire rack. Meanwhile, mix the cinnamon, rosewater and honey in a bowl. Throw in chopped pistachios (I lightly toasted them first) and stir to coat well (see above). Place the cooled cake onto a serving plate, then spoon the honeyed nut topping on. Slice and devour.

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So how did it taste? I took a small bite from my little boy's slice cos you know ... I've broken up with sugar after being together for decades. I know it's sad, but one has to move on. Amazingly, I have been coping very well ... no withdrawal symptoms, no pining whatsoever. ;) But yes, the cake was damp and delicious indeed. The lemon zest gave a nice zing to the nuttiness. Don't skip it ... I think without the zest, the cake can taste quite heavy.

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And now, here's a lil shout-out to end this post. Do check out BakedbyLace if you have some time. Lace is a young lady - a student - who is passionate about baking, and has been selling her creations for a while.

So, I don't know Lace, have never met her before, have never tasted her cupcakes ... which means, this is in no way an endorsement. She emailed me to ask if I would do a non-obligatory review on the cupcakes she makes for sale. I wrote back to say that I would do this mention for nothing in return.

Why, you may wonder?

Well, I feel a lot for young people who are passionate about a cause/hobby/interest and actually get down to doing something about it. Power to them! Reminds me of Fel (Muffins Are Ugly Cupcakes) and Min (Honest Vanilla). Heck, I wish I had more verve when I was younger. *sniff*

Till my next post, folks ... whenever that may be ... peace!



  1. wow, that looks so yummylicious, iam hungry now..

  2. Are you okay? :( why no sugar nowadays :((( hope you're okay, Ju!

  3. So much nuts and so little flour.
    I can really imagine the richness of this cake

  4. I am a big fan of pistachio, always wanted to incorporate it into cake, but just don't know how. Thks for sharing ^_^

  5. The cake looks moist,love the pistachios..

  6. MMm I love pistachios -- it's nice to see you posting again, Ju!

  7. SO glad to see my RSS being updated with yet another of your posts! I hope the separation from sugar isn't preventing you from eating other equally yummy stuff!

  8. Your cake is BEAUTIFUL..everything you make looks like you..:) In a dessert form.

  9. Yummm....pistachios top on a lovely cake. Who can resist? Welcome you back, Ju!

  10. This is why I miss you Ju, your photos make me want to be in them so I can grab a slice of that cake. Very good treatment of the nuts too, love that glossy finish.

  11. What a lovely cake and it looks so moist.

  12. mmmm pistachios are so underused and neglected which is a very sad fact indeed considering they are so goddarn gorgeous! this cake looks deliciously moist, such a fantastic recipe :)

  13. This cake looks so pretty! I love how much of it is nuts.

  14. Hey daaahling, how have you been? I just saw this heavenly cake on tastespotting and hand to see it :D, it looks completely divine.
    *kisses* HH

  15. This looks sooo moist and sticky and wonderful. I love that you used pistachios. Mmm.

  16. This cake looks delicious! Love pistachios!

  17. That cake looks so good! I love the color from the pistachios. It must taste amazing!

  18. Such a gorgeously moist cake. It looks amazingly delicious!

    So glad to see you posting again.

  19. That is one gorgeous cake! I wish I could sit down and have a piece with wouldn't that be fun!

  20. What a beautiful cake! Tea please!

  21. oh wow this cakes look super moist, delicious!

  22. oh my! what a beautiful cake. Can I have a slice please!! So glad I found your blog.

  23. Hey this comment might come a little late and random but do you have any idea where I can get unwaxed lemons here in Singapore? From the looks of the lemons I see in supermarkets they all seem waxed to me.. Thanks!

    1. You are right. Definitely not available at our local supermarkets. You have to go to those organic shops, I think.

  24. hey is the butter supposed to be salted or unsalted? Thanks :)