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