Not only does this cake taste divine but it looks so very pretty too. Not that I am shallow! There are a few optional elements to this recipe – firstly, I recommend peeling the pistachio nuts to reveal their bright greenness within, as vibrant as Parakeet feathers.
This is a dull job and you will curse my name but believe me when I say that the extra effort is rewarded. Secondly, I have added a little green food colouring to the cake mix – we eat with our eyes and the natural brown shade of this cake does not say ‘pistachio’ as much as the green sponge does. I’ve also scored some pistachio paste, which is a wonderful foodie treat! If you come across any in a cookshop or deli, treat yourself as it really helps the flavour along.
You will need 2x 8″ sandwich tins, lined with baking parchment
180°C Oven Pre-heated
340g unsalted butter
340g caster sugar
6 large eggs
340g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
100g chopped pistachio nuts (shelled and peeled)
1tbsp pistachio paste
1tsp vanilla extract
green food colouring paste
(Increase all quantities by 50% to bake across 3x sandwich tins)
- Begin by peeling the pistachio nuts. To do this, cover the nuts in boiling water from the kettle and allow to rest in a bowl for 3-4 minutes. The water will turn a dirty brown colour and, once drained, the nuts will peel easily enough when squeezed between your thumb and forefinger. It’s a laborious job but worth it for the unadulterated bright green flecks that will stud your sponge. You can skip this step and simply chop the shelled nuts.
- Cream the butter and sugar until pale and beat in the eggs one at a time until combined (you may need to add a tablespoon of your flour here and there if the mixture starts to curdle).
- Add the vanilla extract, pistachio paste and green food colouring (the last two items here are completely optional) and combine until the mixture looks even.
- Gently fold in the flour and baking powder until no lumps remain and stir through your chopped pistachio nuts.
- Divide the mixture evenly between two lined cake tins and bake for 35 minutes, or until risen and springy. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in their tins before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
250g unsalted butter
450g icing sugar
4-6tbsp best quality raspberry jam
2tbsp cream cheese
25g shelled, peeled and chopped pistachios
Freeze-dried raspberry pieces
Always begin your frosting with the butter at room temperature
A free-standing mixer makes this job a lot easier!
Cover your mixer bowl with a tea towel to prevent an icing sugar cloud
- Cream the butter in a freestanding mixer for 2-3 minutes until soft.
- Add half of the icing sugar and mix until combined, then add half of the remaining icing sugar and mix again.
- Add the cream cheese, which will lighten the mixture a little, and beat until the frosting is light and creamy.
- Beat in the raspberry jam, adding enough to create a lovely pink frosting with a delicious hit of fruit.
- Remove any peaks from your sponge layers with a sharp knife and spread Raspberry Frosting on top of one layer before laying the second layer on top. You will have sufficient frosting to cover the sides and top of your cake if you wish.
- Any remaining frosting can be loaded into a piping bag, fitted with a large open star nozzle, and piped in rosettes around the top edges of the cake. Simply point the nozzle down, squeeze until you are happy with the rosette size, stop squeezing and pull away.
- Decorate your beautifully pink cake with a scattering of freeze-dried raspberry pieces and chopped pistachio nuts. Please regard the peeling of these nuts as obligatory as they will look stunning against the frosting and you will thank me.