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.
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.