At this point in my life, I have made a lot of cakes and cupcakes. I’ve made almost every one of the “typical” flavors that you can think of (chocolate, cherry, vanilla, espresso, etc.) but have never attempted any kind of a nut cake. Not for any particular reason, but just because it’s never occurred to me. I recently took a poll on my Facebook page and one of the suggested flavors was Pistachio. I was kind of intrigued by that and decided to put together a Pistachio cake. It was a perfect excuse to try out a recipe I’d found on http://www.shewearsmanyhats.com for 7 Minute Vanilla Frosting and my husband wanted to try it, too. If you’ve ever made meringue, the frosting is a take on that and is extremely similar. Just like with meringue, there is a fine line between spreading consistency and glue/rubbery texture, so be careful not to over mix.
We had just returned home from our anniversary celebration (one night in a casino hotel and some of my favorite food in the entire world, in Greektown, Detroit) and I wanted to whip up a quick anniversary cake. Hubby took care of feeding the baby while I decided on a cake recipe from http://www.crisco.com and got to work flouring/greasing 2 9 inch cake pans. I also (because I always have to do it) modified the recipe a bit to be more moist and flavorful.
PISTACHIO CAKE WITH 7 MINUTE VANILLA ALMOND FROSTING
non-stick cooking spray or flour/butter to grease pans
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened to room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup milk
1 (3.75 oz) pkg pistachio instant pudding mix
1 cup + 2 tbsp. cake flour
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsps. baking powder
1/3 cup hot water
2 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
2 large egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsps. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, grease/flour 2 9″ pans, and add the butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs to the mixer. Beat the mixture 1 min on low, then about 3 more min on medium, until it is light and fluffy. Add the water and pudding mix and beat until incorporated fully. Add the flour and baking powder and beat on low speed, scraping the sides often. Beat at medium speed for about 2 min. Pour into prepared pans.
Bake 28-32 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. My oven runs slightly hot so 28 min was enough. Cool 5 min, then flip the cake layers on to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely.
While the cake layers are cooling, prepare the frosting. In a small saucepan, combine the hot water and confectioner’s sugar. Whisk briskly, bring mixture to a boil for 1minute, whisk briskly again, and then turn burner off and set sugar syrup aside.
In a mixing bowl, add egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt. Use an electric hand mixer on high speed and slowly stream in vanilla extract/hot sugar syrup. Continue beating at high speed until desired spreading consistency is reached.
Once the cake layers are cool, frost in between, top, and sides of cake. The frosting is designed to mimic a “sloppy” look so feel free to swirl it without worrying about getting it even or perfect looking 😉
It’s moist, holds a good crumb, tastes wonderfully of both almonds and pistachios, and the frosting cuts the sweetness down.
Try it and let me know what you think!