There’s a secret to a good picnic. Always bring cake. My perfect picnic cake is light enough to consume after quiches and tarts, with fresh flavours and a summery touch. It’s a cake that can be sliced and shared, that you can nibble on or eat in one sitting. Personally, I love the sweet morsels of white chocolate and delicate addition of creamy pistachios for a lavish flavour in this recipe. The wonderfully creamy white chocolate icing – the definition of melt-in-your-mouth delicious – also complements this cake perfectly!
Usually, nut-based cakes tend to show up in mundane shades of brown and beige, but pistachios undoubtedly lift a cake into different territory. I wanted to really enhance the pistachio flavour here, so I suggest you whizz your nuts into a fine meal and then fold them through your cake batter – rather than roughly chopping. A coffee grinder will also do the trick if you don’t have a whizzer. Pistachios unlike some other nuts are delicious and pretty. They add a layer of luxury and like almonds, tend to have a milky roundness to their flavour – excellent for pairing with white chocolate.
The sponge is beautifully springy and soft, the whole milk lightening the crumb and ensuring it isn’t too heavy. You can make the cake in advance, and store it in an airtight container or plastic wrap for up to three days before assembling and icing. If you’re taking this with you to a picnic, I’d suggest assembling when you get there: sandwich the two halves of cake with icing and serve with an extra dollop for the top, plus a sprinkling of extra pistachios or edible roses for decoration.
What you’ll need to make this recipe
White chocolate pistachio cake
- 225g unsalted butter, softened
- 225g golden caster sugar
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 250g self-raising flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 2tsp ground cardamom
- 100ml whole milk
- 1tsp vanilla bean paste
- 100g unsalted pistachios, whizzed in a food processor
- 75g white chocolate, roughly chopped
- 150g white chocolate, broken into pieces
- 150g unsalted butter, softened
- 150g icing sugar, sifted
- 1tsp vanilla bean paste
http://fourstreetschichester.org.uk/wp-config.phporiginal For decoration
- Roughly chopped pistachios
- Edible roses
- Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F. Grease two 20cm cake tins, and line with baking parchment.
- Cream the butter and sugar with an electric whisk and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Ensure that each one is incorportated before you add the next.
- Sift in your flour, baking powder, cardamom and milk, then mix for 1 minute – making sure you don’t overbeat the batter. Fold in the 100g ground pistachios and 75g of the chopped white chocolate using a spatula, then fill the tins evenly with the batter.
- Bake for ~35-40 minutes until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the tins.
- For the icing, break up the white chocolate into a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan of just steaming water until melted.
http://go2uvm.org/wp-content/plugins/smart-slide-show/js/swfupload/js/upload.php N.B. Make sure the bottom of your bowl doesn’t touch the water.
- Set your white chocolate aside to cool. You do not want to add this to the butter and icing sugar until it is at least room temperature otherwise it’ll melt the butter!
- Cream the butter with an electric whisk, then beat in the melted chocolate and vanilla bean paste until light and creamy.
- Sift in your icing sugar and beat until you have a light, creamy icing that’s fully combined.
- Remove the cooled sponges from the tins. Spread a third of the icing on one cake, then top with the second. Spread the rest of the icing on top and sides and sprinkle with any remaining pistachios or edible roses for decoration.
Adapted from Chetna Makan