In case you haven’t noticed, summer is here. In England right now it’s hit the kind of temperatures we spend the whole year complaining we don’t get, and then the few days it does we say things along the lines of; ‘can’t function’ and ‘I’m not built for this kind of heat’ while we sit in the shade in a beer garden or lay on top of the covers at night. I decided to bake on what was the hottest day of the year so far, so all of these things were uttered in the first 5 minutes. In all fairness, I baked this cake at about 8am, when the full heat of day hadn’t hit, but the oven was happily sat there making up the difference as it pre-heated. I had decided to make something fit for summer and baked a White Chocolate & Raspberry Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream and Pistachios.
Here comes another not entirely baking related post, I’m sorry! Well, at least part of it is baking related. On the weekend I went to Hope Cove in Devon. It’s the 4th time I’ve made the trip with several friends and each time it has been incredible. It’s probably one of my favourite places on Earth (and I’ve seen quite a bit of this planet), at least in part due to the company. The seaside village is incredibly beautiful and the flat that we stay in is delightful.
This weekend was a bit more special as it was my friend Tom’s Birthday. And here is where the baking comes in. I recently got my hands on the Clandestine Cake book and decided to make one for his Birthday. Unfortunately, I finished the cake fairly late the night before I had to leave and then it got a bit… squashed… on the way there (I had to get a train and then a lift early in the morning. It took us hours longer than it should have because of traffic jams). This all combined to mean that I didn’t have a chance to photograph it properly, so you’ll just have to make do with what I got. The good news is that it tasted pretty awesome.
On the Saturday we BBQ’d and proceeded to play drinking games. We waited until he was feeling jolly before surprising him with the cake. I deliberately picked this cake as I knew that he enjoyed pistachios.
Just make sure you have 3 20cm round cake tins for this, and a tall enough tin!
- 300g butter, softened
- 300g caster sugar
- 5 eggs
- 300g self-raising flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- Grated zest of 3 limes, plus the juice of 2
- 50g pistachio nuts, finely chopped
- For the lime syrup:
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2tbsp caster sugar
- For the lime curd:
- 60g butter, diced
- 2 eggs
- 170g caster sugar
- Grated zest and juice of 3 limes
- For the frosting & decoration:
- 250g butter, softened
- 200g full-fat cream cheese,from the fridge
- Grated zest of 1 lime
- 250g icing sugar
- 75g good-quality dark chocolate (min. 70% cocoa solids)
- 125g pistachio nuts
- Preheat the oven to 190ºC (fan 170ºC). Grease and line the three sandwich tins.
- Beat the butter and sugar using a wooden spoon or electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, and adding a tablespoon of the flour with the final egg to help prevent curdling.
- Fold in the remaining flour and the baking powder until thoroughly combined. Add the lime zest and juice and the finely chopped pistachio nuts and mix until well combined.
- Divide the mixture between the tins, spreading it evenly. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave in the tins to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put the lime juice and sugar into a pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved, then bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- While the sponges are still warm turn them out of their tins on to a wire rack, then carefully spoon the lime syrup over the top of each one– you may not need all the syrup. Leave the cakes to cool completely.
- Put all the ingredients for the lime curd in a small, heavy-based pan and heat gently, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon – don’t let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble. When it has thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon quite thickly, strain through a sieve into a bowl. Cover and leave to cool
- To make the frosting, beat the butter until smooth. Add the cream cheese and mix until combined. Add the lime zest, then sift in the icing sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
- For the decoration, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the base of the bowl, then pour it on to a piece of baking parchment and spread it out with a palette knife so it is about 3mm thick. Scatter over some of the chopped pistachios and leave to cool and set.
- To assemble the cake, place one of the cooled cakes on a plate, spread with a third of the frosting, then cover with a generous layer of the lime curd. Add a sprinkling of the remaining chopped pistachio nuts. Place a second cake on top of this and repeat the layers (saving some pistachios for the top). Place the final cake on top and cover with the remaining frosting.
- Break the pistachio-studded chocolate into rough shards and arrange round the edge of the top of the cake, then scatter the remaining pistachios among them.
I’ll be bringing part 2 to you later in the week, with Maple and Mustard Pulled Pork as the feature.