A good few years ago (back in 2013) I was out for dinner with a friend at Cafe Marlayne. I tried pistachio cake for the first time and when I had that first bite I knew instantly, I was in love. The sponge was moist but light enough. It had a sort of melted white chocolate layer on top and it was finished with crumbs of pistachio sprinkled all over.
It wasn’t a particularly fancy cake but for some reason I couldn’t stop thinking about it. That’s when I decided to bake my own. Of course I didn’t have the courage to ask for their recipe so I searched online and tweaked a few things to try and imitate what I tasted that night. The result was not bad – the recipe I used had lemon zest and juice in the sponge which I quite liked as it gave a nice fresh taste but I felt it overpowered the pistachio.
For the cake:
- 200g shelled pistachios (plus a few handfuls for the sprinkles on top)
- 50g polenta
- 50g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100g olive oil
- 100g butter
- 3 eggs
- 200g caster sugar
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
For the cake topping – white chocolate ganache:
- 150g white chocolate
- 75g double cream
Prepare x2 20cm cake tins (line and grease and coat with flour) and pre-heat oven to 160°C fan.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the polenta.
- Process the pistachio in a blender until fine. Add this to the flour mix.
- Melt the butter and add to the olive oil. Put aside.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and the sugar until light.
- Add to this the butter and oil mix.
- Next, whisk in the pistachio and flour mix and combine.
- Then add the lemon juice and zest.
- Divide the mixture equally between the tins and bake for 45-50 minutes.
- As always rest in the tin for about 10-15minutes before turning over to a cooling rack.
- While the cake is cooling you can make the ganache or take a break even and have a cup of tea as it’s pretty easy and doesn’t need that much time to make a ganache.
- Boil the cream in a pan over a medium heat. Keep stirring to avoid burning the bottom or creating a skin on top.
- Once it’s starting to simmer pour this over the white chocolate in a bowl and whisk until the chocolate has completely melted.
- When your sponge is cooled pour and spread some of this on top of one sponge. Then place the other sponge on top and pour some more ganache on top.
- Chop up some handfuls of pistachio and sprinkle on top of the cake.
Pistachio is not a cheap ingredient but please give this a try and let me know what you think – it’s not quite the recipe/cake that I tried at Cafe Marlayne but it’s still tasty!
Alternatives – You can use melted white chocolate instead of making a ganache. Or add some orange juice as well or in place of the lemon juice.