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lemon and rosewater-frosted pistachio and orange cake


london has been full of sunshine and warmth over the past week and this weekend i was in the mood to celebrate with a cake. i fancied something citrussy to use up the orange that has been sitting forlornly in the fruit bowl for a little longer than it should.

a quick rummage through various cookbooks led me to a nigel slater recipe for a pistachio cake which is scented with orange and rosewater and then topped with a lemon icing – absolutely perfect!

i decided to up the rosewater content and added it to the icing as well which worked incredibly well – the icing has a strong lemon flavour which is softened by the floral rosewater. a sprinkling of pretty-in-pink sugar crystals and i had a lovely moist cake which i’m sharing with tartlette helen, and domestic goddess jennifer, for this month’s sugar high friday which has a citrus theme.

lemon and rosewater-frosted pistachio and orange cake *

250g butter at room temperature

250g golden caster sugar

3 eggs

100g shelled pistachio nuts, finely ground

100g ground almonds

zest and juice of a large orange

seeds from 6 cardamom pods, ground to a powder**

1 tablespoon rosewater

60g plain flour

for the icing:

juice of a lemon

1 teaspoon rosewater

100g icing sugar

preheat the oven to 160c and line the bottom of a non-stick 22cm tin with greaseproof paper, having lightly greased the tin (if you use a loose-bottom tin place a tray on the bottom of the oven in case the mixture leaks, as happened to a friend of mine).

cream the butter and caster sugar together until the mixture is pale and fluffy. add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture well between each addition. place the mixture in a large bowl and fold in the ground pistachios, ground almonds, orange zest and cardamom. mix in the orange juice and rosewater then fold in the flour.

put the mixture into your cake tin and bake for 50-60 minutes, covering the top lightly with foil after 40 minutes. when the cake is ready a skewer, stuck into the centre, will come out clean without any wet cake mixture on it. leave the cake in its tin to cool.

when the cake is cool, mix the lemon juice and rosewater together. sieve the icing sugar into the bowl and mix together, adding more lemon juice/ icing sugar as necessary – you want quite a thick texture. cover the cake with icing and decorate – crystallised rose petals, coloured sugar or chopped pistachios would all look lovely.

if eating as a pudding, serve with greek yoghurt or mascarpone.

* based on a nigel slater recipe

** this wasn’t enough cardamom for the flavour to come through in my cake so you might want to omit it or, if you too like the idea of a hint of cardamom, add a little extra

Reader Comments (17)

oh wow! Abby this sounds absolutely incredible! i love the flavor combination here!
May 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMeeta
i'm glad you like it meeta - it was one of the nicest cakes i've made in ages!
May 16, 2008 | Registered Commenterabby
Love the combination of flavors! Brilliant! Thank you for your entry!
May 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTartelette
thanks tartelette!
May 18, 2008 | Registered Commenterabby
This cake looks and sounds delicious!
June 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCakelaw
cakelaw - i've had several baking disasters in a row recently but when i get my confidence back (or my memory has just faded a little!) i'm going to make this again as it was really wonderful.
June 3, 2008 | Registered Commenterabby
What a fabulous cake, great presentation and great flavour combinations :)
thanks george, that's a lovely comment to read :)
June 9, 2008 | Registered Commenterabby
Delicious cake - was a bit shocked by the whole pack of butter - but heavenly flavours and texture. Will definitely make again!
April 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersarah
sarah - sometimes it's best to ignore these things ;)
April 20, 2009 | Registered Commenterabby
i've made this cake three times now and the comments have been great - including "the best cake I've ever eaten". also one fussy eater didn't want to share it with anyone else! thanks abby
August 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Lea
hi sharon, i'm glad it's such a success for you. i've not made for a while but will do before the summer is out.
August 26, 2009 | Registered Commenterabby
I just made this cake (trying to find recipes for our wedding cake) and the taste is incredible! however the texture . . . it is very crumbly and barely rose. I'm wondering if you might recommend adding more flour or baking soda, or if that would compromise the cake too much. Any advice you might have would be wonderful! thanks so much for this recipe.
August 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteremily
hi emily - it is a very dense and moist cake which is due to the use of ground nuts rather than flour. have a look at my lime drenched cake which is similar but has a lighter texture - that might be closer to what you want and if so you can then play around with the flavours. congratulations on your forthcoming nuptials, i hope you enjoy finding a suitable cake!
August 6, 2010 | Registered Commenterabby
thanks so much Abby! I'll have fun trying out your lime cake and seeing which works best!
August 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteremily
Hello. .. I had written earlier and just wanted to give you a quick update. We made this cake as our wedding cake (just made 6 individual cakes and topped them with lime juice-marinated mango slices) and it was phenomenal. Everyone raved about it. So thanks again Abby for this wonderful and unique recipe!!
September 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteremily
emily, i am so pleased! if you have photos let me know and i will blog them. and congratulations :)
September 8, 2010 | Registered Commenterabby

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