Thursday, 2 June 2016

Pistachio Sponge Cake

I've seen pistachio sponge a few times on cooking programs, and wanted to give it a go. In my mind it would come out a surprising and rich green colour, and then I'd contrast it with a white icing, and a chocolate drizzle.

Of course, it didn't go quite to plan. I did a basic pound cake recipe, and added some blitzed pistachio was green, but not as green as I wanted. I did a simple buttercream with some raspberry jam (it was what was in the fridge), but personally I think it was too sweet, and a crème patisserie or a meringue-based icing would have been better (something lighter, less sweet). Finally, I did a chocolate water icing, and it was _just_ a bit too runny. Close, but no cigar... So, things I'd change;
1) Probably not a pound sponge...I think a genoise would have been better
2) Not buttercream...probably a crème patisserie
3) Cherries are a more natural accompaniment to pistachios, possibly with some fresh ones in the crème patisserie.
4) Not quite so much liquid in the drizzle icing...this is one I always overdo

Finally, I slightly overdid the cake, so in the recipe I've reduced the cooking time slightly

Pistachio Sponge Cake

  • Pre-heat oven to 160'C 
  • Grease and flour 2 20cm cake tins

Sponge ingredients

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 225g softened butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 150g pistachio kernels
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½tsp baking powder

1) Put the pistachio kernels in a food processor, and blitz until finely blitzed

2) Put all the ingredients in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment

3) Mix until a batter is just formed

4) Split the mixture between the 2 prepared cake tins, and level the tops with a spatula

5) Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes (25 was just over for me)

6) Remove to a wire rack to cool

7) If required, trim the tops to level the cakes

Buttercream Ingredients

Note - I would recommend a different filling, this was too sweet
  • 150g softened butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • ½tsp vanilla essence
  • Milk
1) Put the butter and icing sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment

2) Beat until may need to scrape the sides down

3) Continue to beat while adding the vanilla essence, and add small amounts of milk until a soft, light texture is achieved

4) Place the icing in a piping bag with a round nozzle attachment


Chocolate Drizzle Ingredients

  • 150g icing sugar
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • Water/Milk
  • 3tbsp raspberry jam (though cherry would be better)
  • Ground Pistachio Kernels (to decorate)
1) Place one sponge on a plate

2) Spread the top with raspberry jam

3) Pipe the buttercream in swirls over the sponge

4) Flip the second sponge upside down and place it on top of the icing

5) If required level the sides with a palette knife

6) Sieve the icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl

7) Slowly add the water/milk while stirring to form a thick, viscous icing (be very careful, its easy to go too far)

8) Pour the icing over the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides

9) Sprinkle the top with ground pistachios