This is a cake from the Christmas 2005 issue of Better Homes and Gardens which I've wanted to make for a long time. I waited so long because 1) the photo of the cake was beautiful and a lot of effort seemed to be needed. The cake was decorated with shaved white choc, caramelized stars and chopped pistachios. 2) I've never had any success with cakes from magazines.
The cake recipes that work for me are those from baking classes and friends. To my surprise, this recipe turned out a very delicate cake that is quite pleasing except for the frosting, which I knew would be too sweet, as American frostings usually are. I'm still going to post this recipe because I really love the texture of the cake (not too airy or too firm, not too dry or too moist) and if you change the frosting to another that's not too sweet, you've got a winner.
This recipe is also good if you want to make a white cake. The yolks aren't added to the batter (although I did add 2 yolks out of not wanting to waste them) and the cake is a pleasant cream color. I am going to use this recipe as a basic recipe for times when I want cakes of medium texture. The flavor can be altered by changing the ground pistachios with hazelnuts or other nuts. I've amended the recipe but also given the ingredients amount of the original recipe.
Pistachio Cake With White Choc Frosting
5 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 t cream of tartar (my addition)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose (reduced from 2 cups)
1 T baking powder
1/8 t salt (reduced)
3/4 cup (150g) butter, softened
1 cup castor sugar (reduced from 1 1/2 cups)
1 t pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1/4 cup salted roasted pistachios, finely ground
2 t orange zest/peel, finely chopped (I whizzed it with the pistachios)
1. Grease and line bottom of three 7 or 8" pans (20 cm) or two 9 or 10" pans with wax paper. Grease the sides of the pans. Preheat oven at 180 C.
2. Beat butter in mixer at high speed for 30 sec. Add vanilla and 1/2 the sugar, beat until combined. Alternately add the flour and milk to butter mixture, beating on low to medium speed until just combined.
3. In another bowl, add the egg whites and 1/4 t cream of tartar, beat the egg whites for 30 sec, then add the remaining sugar and beat until glossy stiff.
4. Fold 1 cup of beaten egg white into the butter batter thoroughly to lighten the batter, then add the remaining egg whites. Fold in the ground pistachios and orange peel. Pour batter into the pans.
5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer; if cake is done, the skewer will come out clean. Cool pans on wire racks.
6. Spread frosting between layers and cover sides and top of cake. Decorate with chopped pistachios ,caramelized stars (put this on only when ready to serve. If you put it on the cake and chill it in the fridge, the stars will melt upon thawing) and choc curls.
White Choc Meringue Buttercream*
6 oz white baking choc
3 egg whites
150g fine sugar
*I suggest replacing the American frosting with this cream which is lighter and fluffier and not very sweet.
1. Melt the white choc in the microwave or over a pot of boiling water.
2. Put egg whites and sugar into a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir well. The sugar will melt and the mixture will become frothy and white. Remove and, using a machine, whisk whites till stiff and glossy.
3. Beat the butter in by the spoonful till well-combined with the egg whites.
4. Beat in the melted choc.