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Monday, March 15, 2010

HCB: (California) Pistachio Cake

I ended up getting the California Pistachio from Whole Foods, so I renamed the cake to "California Pistachio Cake." It didn't seem appropriate to call it Sicilian cake :).

This cake is very easy to make. I made 1/2 a recipe again and made sure I split everything in half (also did not forget the sugar this time ^_^). I blanched the pistachio and let it dry on a kitchen towel for about 3 hours. Then process the pistachio with the sugar. Mix the egg yolks with 1 1/2 Tbsp. of sour cream and vanilla paste. Then mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda in the stand mixer. Next, add the butter and the rest of the sour cream. Once it's all mixed, incorporate the egg mixture in 2 additions. Finally, into the oven it goes!

The cake baked about 40 minutes. And it baked flat on top! That sort of never happened to me for butter cakes. I did spend some time making sure the top is smooth and used a silicone spatula to do this (vs. offset spatula). However, it is still amazing to me that it's completely flat. Wish I had taken a picture of it so I have proof, :)).

Next, the buttercream. I have never made the neoclassic buttercream before, so I was naturally curious of the taste. So far my favorite buttercream is the mousseline, which I've made several times. This buttercream is easier to make than the mousseline. It is also easier to work with. I frost the cake with no effort and in very little time (and no my friends, let me assure you it is not because I'm becoming an expert in frosting cakes). Now the part that I love the most is "throwing" the pistachio nuts onto the cake. This is like the easiest decorating that I've ever had to do on a cake, just throw the nuts on it, and make sure that it's evenly covered. And ta-da, the result look pretty!

The cake was a huge hit. I think it's hard to have a cake that uses sour cream taste bad, but it is really really good. The pistachio flavor is pretty faint but I love the crunchy texture of the nuts against the soft moist cake.

Oh forgot to add that I use vanilla paste in the buttercream, I don't know if you can see little black specks in the picture. Also I added a Tbsp. of amaretto to the buttercream (following Matthew, one of Rose's forum blogger) - it added a nice touch to the taste. I still like the mousseline better. But I do look forward to next time when I'll make the neoclassic again - and look forward to piping it!


  1. Wow! Flat top! Your cake looks great! I should half recipe next time too! Maybe i didn't really dry my nuts after blanching it..that's why got a bit of!

  2. Your cake looks very pretty. Good idea to half the recipe. I never think to do that. So many of us found pistachios at Whole Foods!

  3. Jenn, what a beautiful cake! Great job on the pistachios too!

  4. Gosh it looks super gorgeous with those nuts!

  5. Really nice job! Looks just like the RHC picture behind it. I had thought to buy vanilla paste, but now I understand a bit about it, so I shall! I think I will follow your and Matthew's tips to use combo of Amaretto ad Frangelica, just for fun.

  6. I need to second everyones.. it does look like the picture in the book! Great quality control there.

    It was also a big hit over at my end as well. We had the last piece today, and they have already ask me to make it again.

  7. Cute little cake, it's a good idea to use half the recipe and also to name it after Californian Pistachios. So cool :):)
    Bty, it looks exactly like Rose's cake. Good Job!

  8. Great job, Jenn. It looks just like the book. And I did notice the specks on the buttercream before reading it's vanilla. Cool idea!!

  9. I answered your Q on my blog. Here's the short answer: 3 :o)


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