Friday, May 27, 2011

Pistachio-Cardamom Cake.

About a year ago while I wasn't in the country my husband calls home I ordered a book to be sent to him. The book had been released earlier in the year and I totally needed to have it right away. It didn't matter that I wouldn't be with my husband until July, I needed to know the book was there, waiting for me.
If you have ever read a post by David Lebovitz, churned some ice cream following a recipe of his or looked at his pictures you understand why this book needed to be in my possession.

New books get a special treatment with post its.
My husband followed my lead and added his own picks. One of said picks was for a Pistachio-Cardamom Cake. So I followed suit.

Cardamom Pistachio Cake.
See all the post its? 
The ones on top are by me. The ones on the side are by my husband. 
And do you see this golden shade of the cake? With some caramelized almonds around the corner? 

This cake gave me lots of trouble though. I put myself in lots of trouble because I used the wrong cake pan. The recipe is great. 
Can you see that the cake sunk in a little in the middle? That's because I opened the oven door a little to often while it was supposed to bake. The opening of the oven door led to a over 10 minute longer baking time which made the cake a little dry. 
If I had followed 1 (!) specific step proper it could have been averted.
Don't use a spring form pan!

Pistachio-Cardamom Cake
Recipe adapted from "Ready for Dessert" by David Lebovitz

2 tablespoons (30 grams) butter
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup (60 grams) sliced almonds (MM: I used halved blanched almonds. On my scale the 3/4cup would have been over 75 grams. I went with 65grams and it was perfect for my cake pan.)

3/4 cup (95 grams) shelled unsalted pistachios (MM: Next time I would go for shelled and skinned to have a stronger green color)
1/4 cup (35 grams) plus 3/4 cup (110 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cardamom seeds (MM: Getting the seeds out of the pods is a little tedious but has a much better flavor than pre ground cardamom. I put the seeds straight into the mortar so I am not sure I got exactly 2 teaspoons and would use more next time.)
1/2 cup (115 grams) butter, unsalted, at room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt. 

1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
Start by making the topping. Place your designated baking pan (a round one, 9-inch/ 23 cm, not a spring form pan!) directly on the stove top and melt the 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat.

2. Once melted, remove from the heat. Let cool briefly and sprinkle evenly with the teaspoon sugar, then add the almonds. Arrange them in an even layer by shaking and tilting around. Set aside.

3. For the cake pulverize the pistachios with the 1/4 cup of flour in an food processor or blender until as finely ground as possible.

4. Crush the cardamom seeds in a mortar and pestle or a sturdy plastic bag and crushed with a rolling pin. Add the cardamom to the pistachio mixture and set aside.

5. In a medium sized bowl with a hand held mixer (or in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment) beat the sugar (200grams, 1 cup) and the butter (115 grams, 1/2 cup) together until light and fluffy about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, until completely incorporated.

6. Whisk together the remaining 3/4 cup flour, the baking powder and the salt and add it to the butter-egg mixture. Stir in the pistachio mix until just combined. 

7. Spoon the batter carefully into the prepared cake pan, trying not to disturb the almonds at the bottom. 

8. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40minutes. (The butter in my spring form pan leaked after I put it into the oven resulting in a hideous amount of smoke in the oven which made me in turn open the oven door more frequently which resulted in a wobbly center after 45minutes. My cake baked for about 55minutes.) Allow to cool for 15 minutes before inverting it on a cake platter.

Cake can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 days.

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