Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Nutty Mother's Day

It's a very nutty Mother's Day this year.

Pistachio Cake Batter

Wonder what that is? It's cake batter. Pistachio cake batter to be specific. Wanted to bake something for mum on this special day and chanced upon this recipe online a few weeks back via The Food Section. It's actually a recipe from the London River Cafe. The recipe can be found in their cookbook, Italian Easy: Recipes from the London River Cafe.

Nope, I've never visited the London River Cafe. I do know that there's a River Cafe here in Singapore but not really sure if it's affiliated. Maybe it is...

Anyway this recipe is really easy but expensive. That's because shelled pistachio nuts cost more. I bought 250g for about $9. My ingredients came about $20 in total... But that's because I bought extra unsalted butter (for my chocolate chip cookies to be baked soon) and flour.

Try out this recipe if you like nuts as much as I do. Hmmm but you won't really taste any nuts while eating it, besides the topping of course.

here's the finished product plus topping

Pistachio Cake Closeup
a closeup shot - can you see the lovely shiny glaze on the pistachio?

Cake slice1
Cake slice 2
Cake slice 3

Tada! Sorry for the sudden influx of pistachio cake photos. I just had to put them up. Especially those cut slices. I wanted to capture and show you guys the lovely hue of the pistachios and the colour of the cake.

The topping really completes the cake, not just in terms of aesthetics. It gives the cake that extra zing. The taste I mean. The lemon glaze gives a tangy tart feel to the cake while you bite into it. Very refreshing. I'm going to eat it with yoghurt later. It looks as if it would go well with yoghurt.

Just to let you know, mum did like the cake and so did both my younger bro and sis. They liked it so much and now there's only about half left. Well I do have a hungry family i guess. Or maybe just one with a huge appetite. Like me.

Yes yes, i'm sure most of you are eager for the recipe. So here goes:

Pistachio Cake
by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers
from Italian Easy: Recipes from the London River Cafe

2 1/4 sticks Unsalted butter
1 Lemon
1 Vanilla bean
2/3 cup Blanched almonds
3/4 cup Pistachios
1 1/4 cups Superfine sugar
4 Eggs, organic
1/2 cup All-purpose flour

1 Lemon
1/2 cup Pistachios
1/4 cup Superfine sugar

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Grease a 12 x 4 1/2 x 2 3/4-inch loaf pan with 4 tsp of the butter and line with baking parchment.

Soften the remaining butter. Finely grate the lemon peel. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Finely grind the almonds and pistachios together.

Beat the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the lemon peel and vanilla seeds, then fold in the nuts and sift in the flour.

Spoon the batter into the pan and bake for 45-60 minutes. The cake is ready when a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pan, then turn out.

For the topping, grate the lemon peel and squeeze the juice. Halve the pistachios. Mix the lemon juice with the sugar, boil until reduced to a syrup, then add the peel. Stir in the pistachios and pour over the cake.

Recipe reprinted with permission. Copyright 2004 Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.


Do take note:

* 2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter is = 1 block unsalted butter or approx 250g
* Since vanilla beans aren't a common sight in Singapore, I used vanilla essence. it'll work fine
* Didn't know where in the world I could get organic eggs so I used normal ones.
* For those in Singapore and have difficulty getting shelled pistachios, go to Phoon Huat.
* I couldn't find a pan of the required size so I just used one that i had at home. Just make sure that when you pour your batter, it doesn't touch the brim. As long as it's half or 3/4 full, it's fine.


I'm really glad I got to try out this recipe! Been wanting to bake this cake but kept delaying it because I couldn't find shelled pistachios... I'm glad it turned out fine though. Definitely one of my favourites. Reminds me of the hazelnut torte my aunt made last time. Lovely. My aunt is an excellent baker. In fact, when i was younger, I used to help her out in the kitchen when she was baking bread/cakes etc. You can say I have some good 'baker' genes. Pardon my corny reference. It's late.

Ms. Baker will get some shut-eye now... zZzZzZz........


sari said...

The cake looks really cute and its something different, not the usual choc cake! Heeheee I have baked the pizza already using yr pizza dough recipe and it turned out perfect! hehehe pls take a look at my xanga

Vera said...

wow looks sooo good!

i baked the pizza too! thanks for hte recipe!
the kneading was so hard.. so tiring hehehe

the baker said...

hi michelle,

wow your pizza looks really yummy... haha saw that you used lots of mozzerella cheese! haha i do that too, i'm a real cheese lover. Ya this cake is quite different. My mum always grumbles that i only ever bake chocolate cakes so i tried something new. =)

Heya fat fingers,

that's great! how did it turn out? ya kneading is hard but oh boy is it so worth the effort when it comes out of the oven... and that smell! Mmmmm... haha =)

Vera said...

the pizza turned out good! i managed to save the dough in time. almost wanted to throw it away! haha knead till pek chek!

i made hawaiian pizza.. everyone loves it! :D

sari said...

Heeheee babe, thanx! I used parmesan and cheddar actually.. its not a pizza unless u put lots of cheese, lol!!! Love it! Turned out sooo goood! Thanx again for sharing recipes. Ive went to some blogs... and seriously girls these days are getting selfish, they dun really wanna share recipes.. even my friends, when I asked for it, they just said its a secret. Haikz~ =D

the baker said...

hey fatfingers!

glad your pizza came out well. ahh hawaiian pizza.. love those chunks of pineapple. scrumptious... i wanna try making a purely cheese pizza. i know i've eaten it a couple of times at italian restaurants. they use gorgonzola, ricotta, pecorina etc... all those fantastic italian cheeses. abs. delightful!

Heya michelle,

Couldn't agree more! try gorgonzola next time. it's an italian cheese and it's PERFECT. oh, i'm all for sharing recipes. haha what's the use of guarding one's recipe so closely? Besides, most of the time, all of us would have taken the recipe from somewhere else. I like to share the joy... if i can enjoy good homecooked food, then you can too! i always believe in that. besides, the outcome of the dish doesn't always come out the same... ya...

speaking of recipes, you've got any to share? where did you get your italian herb bread recipe? i so feel like trying it out! =)

sari said...

Heya babe, I got the bread recipe from Jamie Oliver site

heehee do try it out~ U will love it!!!!!

sari said...

wah babe, can you give me the tandoori recipe? I love indian cusine da most~ heehee

penny seow said...


Anonymous said...

Awesome looking cake. Loved the contrast between the brown crust and the green centre. YUMMY!!!

Colin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Colin said...

Hi Ms. Baker, I love your site!The two River Cafes are not affiliated, and Phoon Huat sells vanilla beans sometimes. If you can, use the beans instead of the essence; the difference is quite phenomenal!

Only Slightly Pretentious Food

the baker said...

hey mich, the recipe i got from the indian chefs that time was very vague and measurements weren't exact so I searched online for the recipe closest to it and which uses the same ingredients. i can send that one to you. heh too bad we don't have our own tandoor. but i guess the oven works fine =) what's your email?

the baker said...

hi colin,

thanks =) they do? i've honestly never seen vanilla beans sold in sg before. but i guess they're quite ex. ya? well i'll be sure to try some out soon enough, when i do find the beans themselves. but i do find it amazing how those miniscule black seeds can enhance the flavour by several notches!

Colin said...

I think the last time I bought them from Phoon Huat they were over a dollar each.

Not that cheap, but really worth it.

Only Slightly Pretentious Food

Anonymous said...

Looks really spectacular! I love the beautiful green hue. :)

OMFG!! said...

High Cost ingredient!!

very london style & i do not think there a river cafe here

the baker said...

Hi Colin,

Heh basically anything to do with baking doesn't cost cheap most of the time - quality ones I mean. But I'd rather choose quality over quantity anytime. So someday if I got the money, I might just make brownies or molten choc cake with Valrhona or Godiva chocolate. Imagine that!

Hi Julia,

Yea... the green is lovely isn't it? I love pistachios. But I couldn't find the better quality ones. The ones more suited for baking. Those are really perfect. Smooth, perfect even green tone and more nutty and crunchy. My aunt bought them in bulk last time from a wholesaler but it was about $40 per kg i think.

Hi Q Q,

Yes there is a rivercafe here. just that it isn't related to the london one. see for more details.

Colin said...

Actually you don't always have to compromise on quality. There are some value for money places if you know where to look.

Maybe not Valrhona or Godiva, but there're excellent sources for chocolate in the remoter corners of the island.

Do you have a good molten chocolate cake recipe? Was supposed to try it for Mother's Day but plans changed at the last minute. See blog for details.

Only Slightly Pretentious Food

the baker said...

Hi Colin,

Yea, i know that and i'm constantly on the look out. In fact, when i have a recipe that calls for dark chocolate, i normally use the one carrefour sells. it's at their chocolate section. 2 bars of 200g each costs only $4.90. but the quality is really good. it works well for me. better than those of the same price. Heh only when i have enough $ to splurge, then i'll use hershey's. But their cocoa works well for me, rather indispensible.

molten chocolate cake... hmmm i do have recipes for that but alas i haven't tried making it before so I don't know which works best. maybe i'll let you know when i've tried?

sari said...

babe, my email is

Colin said...

I've not tried the ones from Carrefour; I get mine from Phoon Huat - not sure how much they charge though.

Sure thing! I'll update you if I try one before that.

Brandon said...

I came to your site via the photo contest hosted by I Heart Bacon and I thought the picture you entered was wonderful--strange, beautiful, and oddly appetizing. Usually baking is a passion I repress and must live out vicariously. That pistachio cake though, I'm going to have to try it.

the baker said...

hi brandon,

yes, it tasted great as well. it's quite refreshing, this cake. it's something new for me. i've always stuck to making chocolate cakes and what not. this is kind of my first time using so much nuts! and i love how the glaze shows so beautifully in the photo! =) thanks for dropping by... let me know when you've tried baking it. hopefully you'll like it as much as i did...

Kristina said...

Your cake turned out really nice. Great color, the nut topping very appetizing. Love your site and all the great pictures. I'm going to put a link to you on my blog at Keep cooking.

Anonymous said...

the gal who bakes! and cooks!

just cruising through all the entries for dmblgit - you know, checking out the competition ;)

this made me *gasp!* the pistachios are so amazingly bright green! excellent photo :)

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