Monday, 1 September 2014

Lemon and Pistachio Cake.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make... Lemon Cake.

Today is of course the 1st of September and so unfortunately means that our summer, sunshine and days spent lazing on the beach are now over however, Google has assured me that Autumn does not officially begin until September 21st so, despite the fact that the view out of my window is one of grey clouds and rain and ignoring the fact that I am bundled up in a chunky, over-sized jumper and debating whether to put my electric blanket back on my bed, I will choose to believe that we do still indeed have a few weeks of summer remaining. As such, I thought why not celebrate our remaining few weeks of summer with a few particularly zesty and summery recipes because I know that when Autumn arrives in just a few weeks’ time, it will bring a whole lot of chilly, windy and rainy weather with it and zesty, refreshing summer recipes will be a thing of the past as we tuck into our hearty stews and puddings instead.

For me, nothing is more delightful, vibrant and zesty in the summer than lemons which, just so happen to make some of the most delightful and flavoursome baked goods as well. I have therefore decided to do something a little bit different on the blog for the next few weeks and have created the 'When Life Gives You Lemons, Make...' mini series to share some delicious lemon recipes with you, as I thought that having a theme on the blog for a few weeks would be something new and exciting. So, over the next few weeks I will be making; Lemon and Pistachio Cake, Zesty Lemon Tart and Lemon Curd and Clotted Cream Shortcake and so, hopefully there will be at least one lemon recipe to catch everyone's eye but, if you are a lemon lover like me then I hope you adore them all.

I decided to start with this moist, crumbly lemon and pistachio cake taken from Fay Ripley's, Fay Makes It Easy cookbook and added in my favourite homemade lemon curd. It is the perfect afternoon tea cake, or for me; ‘the whenever I feel like a slice of cake, cake’. Every glorious, soft, sweet bite melts in the mouth and bursts on the tongue with zesty, lemony flavour while, the velvety, tart, river of lemon curd running through the centre is just a heavenly, hidden treasure. Simple and scrumptious, that's what we like to hear. 

For the lemon and pistachio cake-
125g shelled pistachios
150g unsalted butter, softened
150g golden caster sugar
150g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
50g ground almonds
2 large eggs
juice of 2 lemons
150g-175g lemon curd
For the lemon drizzle icing-
75g icing sugar
2 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
For the lemon curd-
Grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of 2 lemons
2 eggs, beaten
90g golden caster sugar
55g unsalted butter


1. Start by preparing the lemon curd.  Sit a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, but don't let the bowl touch the water. Then place the eggs, sugar, lemon zest and juice in the bowl and whisk together. Now add the butter piece by piece and cook for about 15 minutes, giving it a good whisk from time to time, until the curd has become smooth, glossy and thickened. Allow to cool. You can make this the day before for convenience if you like so just cover with cling film and refrigerate if desired.

2. Next, pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a 20cm round spring form cake tin with greaseproof paper. Prepare the cake mixture. In a food processor grind 100g of the pistachios to crumbs. Tip into a mixing bowl or the bowl of a freestanding mixer. Add the softened butter, sugar, ground almonds and mix until smooth and combined. 

3. Pop in the eggs and mix again until combined. Add 2 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice and mix. Sieve the flour and baking powder into the mix and fold in gently.

4. Scrape half of the mixture into the cake tin and spread to fill the tin and meet the edges. Smooth the mixture out and then top with the lemon curd. Roughly spread the lemon curd over the top but not quite to the edge.

5. With the remainder of the mixture, drop dollops over the top of the lemon curd layer to cover it and gently spread the mixture to the edge of the cake tin, smoothing with the back of a spoon. 

6. Roughly chop the remaining 25g pistachios with a knife and scatter over the cake. Bake for about 45 minutes until brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.

7. For the icing just mix together the icing sugar and 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice, stirring into a paste. Drizzle over the top of the cake, creating a criss-cross pattern and leave for a couple of minutes to set before serving.

P.s. if you do happen to have any lemons remaining after baking this cake, then the whole 'When Life Gives You Lemons, Grab Some Vodka And Make Limoncello' sounds like a great idea too. 

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