Orange and pistachio cake

Orange and pistachio cake

By
From
Citrus
Serves
12-16
Photographer
Mowie Kay

The original orange and almond version of this cake is usually described as Sephardic; I first came across it via Claudia Roden and have been making variants on it for years. It does lend itself well to all kinds of citrus and nuts. I have tried clementines, blood oranges and a combination of oranges and limes, which have all been very good. This, however, is my favourite. It is extremely moist and has excellent keeping properties – in fact, it is usually better after a day or two.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 oranges
softened butter, for greasing
6 eggs
225g caster sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
250g pistachios, finely ground
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon orange blossom water

To decorate

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon caster sugar
50g nibbed pistachios
a handful dried rose petals

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
200ml double cream
15g icing sugar
1 teaspoon orange blossom water

Method

  1. Put the oranges in a saucepan and cover with just-boiled water. Return to the boil and simmer for a couple of hours, until tender – a good way to test this is to see how easily you can break the skin with the handle of a wooden spoon. Alternatively, you can pressure cook the oranges for 30 minutes. Drain the oranges and either run under cold water or wait for them to cool down naturally. As soon as they are cool enough to hold, break them open and remove any seeds. Blitz everything – white membrane, pith and all – in a food processor or blender, until smooth.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Butter a 21–23cm loose-bottomed cake tin and line the base with baking parchment.
  3. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk until frothy, then beat in the sugar, ground pistachios, baking powder and orange blossom water. Stir in the puréed oranges.
  4. Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin. Bake in the oven for 1 hour–1 hour 20 minutes, depending on the size tin you use (a smaller size will make a deeper cake, which will need a little longer to cook). When the cake is done, a skewer will come out fairly clean.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Dust with the caster sugar and sprinkle with the nibbed pistachios and rose petals.
  6. Whisk the cream with the icing sugar until it forms soft waves, then stir in the orange blossom water. Serve with slices of the cake.
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