Pistachio cake with raspberry buttercream supergolden bakes

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Pistachio cake with raspberry buttercream

The inspiration for it came from a small vintage trinket box which I spotted on yay retro and instantly fell in love with. The shape  and the colour somehow asked to be filled with mini-macarons. Then I got a vision of a cake decorated with the macarons... and I came up with this pistachio sponge cake (green =pistachio - that's how my brain works).

This is a lovely, moist cake, perfect for summer. I have filled it with Swiss meringue buttercream but whipped cream and lemon curd also work very well. Next time I think I will add fresh raspberries in the buttercream. Decorate with fresh raspberries or the macarons. 

For the cake
115g unsalted butter, cubed and softened | 1 stick
60ml vegetable oil | 1/4 cup
175g caster sugar | 1/2 cup 
50g pistachios, very finely ground | 1/2 cup
3 large eggs, separated
175g plain flour | heaped 1 1/3 cup
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
5 tbsp buttermilk

Lemon syrup
3 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp elderflower cordial
Juice of 1 lemon

For the Raspberry lemon buttercream
150ml egg whites (from 5 large eggs or liquid egg whites) | 5oz
200g caster sugar | 7oz
250g unsalted butter | 2 sticks + 2 tbsp
2 tbsp elderflower cordial
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp lemon curd (homemade or shop bought)
4g freeze-dried raspberry pieces, finely ground in a pestle and mortar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line 2x20cm (8in) cake tins (or 3x16cm/6inch tins as in the pictures).

Whisk the egg whites to a stiff (but not dry) meringue and set aside. Roast the pistachios in an oven at 160C for 10 minutes, then pulse in a food processor till finely ground. Sift the flour, ground pistachios, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together. 

Put the butter and caster sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream together till pale and fluffy. Stop and scrape the bowl midway through. Add the oil, lemon juice and zest and whisk on high for 3-4m. Add the egg yolks and continue whisking till batter is well combined. Reduce speed of mixer and start adding the flour alternately with the buttermilk. 

Add a dollop of the meringue into the batter and mix together. Fold the remaining egg whites with a large spatula. Try not to knock all the air out.

Divide the batter between the cake tins and smooth. Bake in centre of the oven for 20-25m (depending on size) or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

To prepare the lemon syrup add all the ingredients into a small pot and stir together over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Brush the top of the cakes with the syrup.

To make the buttercream, put the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Boil some water in a pot, reduce heat to a simmer, then add the mixing bowl on top making sure the bottom does not touch the water. Lightly whisk the egg whites for about 7 minutes - make sure the sugar dissolves completely. Attach the mixing bowl to the mixer and whisk on high speed for about 10 minutes till you have a thick meringue. When the bowl has cooled start adding the butter one cube at a time while whisking on medium. Once all the butter is incorporated add the lemon juice and cordial and whisk until combined.

Using a wooden spoon mix in the lemon curd. Put a third of the buttercream in a separate bowl then gently fold the freeze-dried raspberry powder in.

Place your cake on a cake board (or stand) and smooth a generous amount of the raspberry buttercream on top. Add the second layer and cool in fridge for an hour. Frost entire cake with the plain buttercream. Decorate with fresh raspberries or with mini-macarons.

Filled with fresh whipped cream & lemon curd and decorated with raspberries.


  1. This is such a beautiful cake and I can't decide which version I like best!

    The little green dish filled with macarons is a great idea :)

  2. The cake is gorgeous and that trinket box is so cute! You always put so much work into your bakes and this one looks stunning as always!

  3. I am a recent pistachio convert - this cake is definitely going on the 'cakes to try' list!

  4. They look so delicious and pretty!

  5. Love pistachios, especially in a moist cake... thanks for the recipe!

  6. fantastic! I bet it's heavenly delicious!

  7. this is gorgeous and i love pistachios :D

  8. This looks delicious! I've never had pistachio cake before.