Family days with Pistachio and Yogurt Cake

Slice of yumminess

Slice of yumminess

So, its been a while. The only excuse I have is that the other half has been away a lot in the last few months. I try to stay away from baking when it is just me in the house otherwise when he comes home he might find a whale on the sofa. I have very little self control when it comes to eating cake. They call to me in the cake tin and are only silent when they have all been devoured. Gluttonous I know, but don’t tell me you aren’t the same. I know, I know, pretend all you like, but us cake eaters, we can smell you a mile away.

Having said all of that I am currently trying out the 5:2 fasting diet, so I am sat here typing as my stomach grumbles at me in a Hrumph manner. For those who don’t know the 5:2 diet is when on two days of the week you eat 500 calories for women and men 600 calories. It has been all of the news and papers over the last few months and without going into it greatly, I think it is working. Normally when I get Chinese takeaway I can easily devour the whole thing. After doing the diet for a week I got a chinese takeaway (you can eat normally the other days of the week!) I couldn’t finish my takeaway. And I am not one of those girly girls, I can eat. When my husband asked me on my birthday this year what I wanted to do or go, I just asked for a Chinese takeaway. They make me so happy. Much to his bafflement.

ANYWAY. So my family came to visit yesterday and I decided to get up at the crack of sparrows to make a cake for them. I didn’t want to make anything too fatty or sweet as I was going to be serving it in the morning when they turned up. Cup of coffee and slice of cake at 11ses sort of thing. I decided on Pistachio and Yogurt Cake from a huge Lebanese cookbook my parents got me last Christmas. It is an amazing cookbook and has some fab recipes in it.

What is so great about this cake is that there is no butter in it. The majority of my cakes tend to have vast amounts of butter in the cake and then some more on top of that in the icing. In this particular cake, the butter is seemingly substituted with the yogurt and sunflower oil. As a result, the texture is a little crumbly but it is light. The contrast between the dissolving bits of crumbly cake and the  crunch of pistachios combine beautifully, while the flicker of orange zest sets off all the flavours, gently bringing them all together.

Small slice for you, the rest is for me!

Small slice for you, the rest is for me!

 

Overall a great success! Have a go and see what you think.

Recipe from The Lebanese Kitchen, by Salma Hage

 

1 1/2 cups (300g) caster sugar

3 3/4cups (450g) flour, sifted

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

2/3cup (150ml) plain natural yogurt

2/3cup (150ml) sunflower oil

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 vanilla bean pod, seeds removed

grated zest of 1 orange

1 3/4cups (200g) shelled pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped

icing sugar for dusting (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 180oC. Line a 20cm cake pain with greaseproof paper.

2. Combine your flour, baking powder and sugar and then pour in your yogurt and oil. Mix well.

3. Add your eggs and beat together until combined. It should make a gloriously thick and creamy mixture. Your can use an electric whisk or just do it by hand. I did mine my hand as I am apparently completely incapable of owning an electric whisk for more than a few months without breaking it. . .

4. Scrap your vanilla seeds from the pod and add to mixture along with your orange zest and chopped nuts. Gently fold into the cake mix until evenly spread.

5. Spoon into cake tin and put in the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. I used a slightly smaller cake tin so it was done by an hour.

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Coconut and Key Lime cupcakes

Bites of spring.

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So last week I decided to experiment with. Coconut and key lime and boy did the combination work. Using my favourite coconut recipe and swiping a key lime curd recipe from Martha Stewart I combined them to create a coconut base with a heart of key lime curd and lime buttercream. The result is a citrusy and distinctive flavour.

Before you do anything, you need to start with making the key lime curd. The inspiration came when thinking about a hummingbird bakery key lime pie I made for my hubby last year. I loved the tangy kick of the dessert and decided it would bring something special to my coconut cupcakes.

Key lime Curd

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons grated key-lime zest, plus 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed key-lime juice(6 limes)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1. Combine sugar, eggs, lime zest and juice in a saucepan and set over a medium low heat. Whisk it continually as it cooks. The mixture will slowly begin to thicken and with mark the whisking. This should be at about 10-12 minutes.

2. Once it is thickened enough remove from heat and whisk in the butter, piece by piece, allowing each one to melt before adding the next. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a glass bowl. Quickly take some cling film and lay it directly on the mixture in the bowl, so that it completely touches and covers the mixture. You do not want the curd to form a skin. Leave the mixture in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight. I actually left it for 2 hours and it was fine.

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This is what is should look like after the cooling process. So easy to do and very taste effective!

While this is in the fridge you can get on with baking your cupcakes. I shall drop you the ingredients you need for the cupcakes but won’t go over the method again, as you can find this in an earlier post.

Coconut Cupcakes

1 3/4 flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 shredded coconut

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 1/3 cups of sugar

2 large eggs, 2 egg whites

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk

Once out of the oven, allow them to cool completely. Once they are cold you can begin with the decorating and filling. To fill the core of the cupcake you can go about it in a few ways. Either you use a cupcake corer which you can get off Amazon or in your nearest hobbycraft store, a small spoon to scoop out the middle of you can use a Wilton icing nozzle numbered 230. This nozzle is especially for piercing cupcakes and squeezing icing/buttercream and so on into the middle. It means that you are keeping all the cupcake sponge, which is a bit of an advantage. I used this method but it is not particularly necessary.

Using the nozzle and an icing bag I filled it with some if the Key Lime Curd. Carefully I inserted the nozzle into the middle of the cupcake and squeezed slowly pulling my icing bag back away from it with the flow of curd. I then pierced it again all around the middle so that the body of the cupcake has Key Lime Curd running all the way through it. Each bite will have a flutter of lime.

Now for the Lime Buttercream:

Lime Buttercream

250g unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp lime juice

2 tsp key lime curd

500g icing sugar

Again, once made, fill an icing bag with the buttercream and ice over all the Key Lime Curd icing holes on top of each cupcake.

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Lastly, scatter some lime zest on top of each cupcake to add a shot of green colour.

And so you have it, a Coconut and Key lime cupcake. Everything a light airy cupcake should have. Light spongy cake, with bubbles of tangy key lime curd that dances around the cake in a beautiful way. Every bite a delightful surprise. If you like Key Lime pie of any kind then you should absolutely try this recipe.

Enjoy.