Sunday, March 11, 2012

2 Pistachio Cake with Vanilla Honey Buttercream

This might be one of the prettiest cakes I have ever made! 
And I adore that it is not the usual chocolate or vanilla. . . but pistachio! :-) 
This would also make a wonderful breakfast cake if you just baked the "cake" dough in bread pans and didn't ice them! :-) 
Pretty, different, versatile, and "green" for St. Patrick's Day. . . what more could you want?? :-)
Pistachio Cake with Vanilla Honey Buttercream
30 min cake prep, 45min bake, 30 min buttercream prep, 15 min ice; easily serves 16
For the cake:
1 cup shelled pistachios
2 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat your oven to 325F. Grease two or three (2 pans makes 2 thick cake layers, 3 pans makes 3 thin cake layers) 8-inch round cake pans and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pistachios until they are coarsely chopped. Remove about two tablespoons worth of the pistachios to a large bowl and set aside. Process the rest of the pistachios until they are very fine. Stir the finely chopped pistachios into the rough chopped pistachios. In a measuring cup, make 1 1/2 cups ice water. Set aside. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together over the pistachios. Whisk to combine. Set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and shortening together. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add the whole egg and mix until blended. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour and ice water to the butter and sugar mixture, about a half cup at a time. Scrape down the sides as needed. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Use a rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into the batter. Divide the batter among the pans and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer the cakes (still in the pans) to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out on the rack and cool completely before icing.
For the Vanilla Honey Buttercream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons honey
In a medium heavy bottom saucepan, whisk the flour and sugar together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking regularly. Cook until the mixture comes to a boil and is thickened, about 12 minutes. Transfer the sugar cream mixture to a bowl and beat on high speed until cool, about 10 minutes.Turn the mixer down to low and add the butter a little bit at a time. Because the butter is cool, it may look like it won't blend in and you'll be stuck with chunks of butter. Just keep mixing and it will smooth out. When it's all mixed in, increase the speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the honey and vanilla.
To assemble cake
1/2 cup crushed pistachios
Spread about 1 cup of icing on one cake layer. Add the second layer and repeat with the icing. Add the third layer and spread remaining icing evenly over the cake. Sprinkle the top and bottom edge with the crushed pistachios 
Kitchen Trial and Error 
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