Sunday 8 April 2007


Apart from the obvious joy to be had in overindulging in rabbit and egg-shaped chocolate, another reason to love Easter is the four day weekend that heralds the start of Spring for those of us lucky enough to work in places that honour public holidays. In anticipation of a Friday at home (for me at least) we invited friends over for dinner and I spent the week looking forward to spending the afternoon pottering round in the kitchen preparing a meal. I love deciding what to cook for people but I particularly enjoy being able to take the opportunity to make a pudding. I had initially planned to make some lemon souffle tartlets which I had read about on Orangette (and which will definitely make an appearance one day) but when I looked at the recipe again I realised that I hadn't made a start on the pastry early enough and as I wasn't feeling brave enough to chance drastically reducing the resting times I needed an urgent plan b, one that preferably wouldn't involve going back to the shops. I looked through a few of my most trustworthy books and eventually decided on the lemon-frosted pistachio cake from 'The Kitchen Diaries' which would only require a small substitution of orange blossom water for rosewater and slightly less coverage with the lemon frosting due to a serious shortage of icing sugar. The cake is moist from the pistachios, almonds, and orange juice, and feels like a relation to those little semolina cakes that are drenched in fragrant syrup but the icing moves it more into the realm of traditional teatime cakes, either way it is delicious.

LEMON-FROSTED PISTACHIO CAKE (adapted very slightly from Nigel Slater's 'The Kitchen Diaries')
serves 10-12

250g of butter
250g of caster sugar
3 large eggs
100g of shelled pistachio nuts
100g of ground almonds
An orange
1 tsp of orange blossom water (or rosewater if you have it)
60g of plain flour

100g of icing sugar (or less if, like me, you forgot to buy it and have almost run out)
2 tbsp of lemon juice (reduce a little if you're using less icing sugar)

Preheat the oven to 160° C. Line the bottom of a non-stick 22cm cake tin (I used a 20cm tin and it needed about 10 minutes extra to cook) with baking parchment.
Cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between adding each egg. Blitz the pistachios in a food processor to turn them into fine crumbs and then add them, along with the almonds, to the butter, sugar and eggs. Add the zest and the juice of the orange and then stir in the orange blossom water and, finally, fold in the flour.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 minutes, covering the top lightly with foil for the final ten minutes. Check that the cake is done by inserting a skewer, it should come out quite clean with no wet mixture stuck to it. Leave it to cool in the tin before turning out.

Make the icing by mixing the icing sugar and lemon juice together until smooth and then pour it over the cake. If you have any leftover pistachios use a few to decorate the top of the cake. Leave the icing to set and then serve and enjoy.


pistachio said...

This looks delicious. I was only saying today to Violets that I haven't cooked anything from this book so far and I want to remedy that. This definitely looks like a contender for breaking the ice.

Many thanks.

pi xxx

Kelly-Jane said...

Your cake looks lovely! I don't have a huge number of things marked from the Kitchen Diaries - but this is one of them :)


Gemma said...

Well I definitely recommend that you both get cooking some recipes from this book! If you want some places to start try the bolognese recipe, the chicken and pancetta meatballs, the chicken wings, the Christmas cake (not just yet obviously), and the chocolate brownies - all fabulous!

Helene said...

This cakes looks incredible. Love the flavors! Mouth watering picture.

Gemma said...

Thanks Helene!

Anonymous said...

I have this recipe clipped from some Times article and have always wanted to try it! Yours looks totally delicious. I love love love Kitchen Diaries. Everything I've made from it is so delicious.

Gemma said...


I agree about The Kitchen Diaries it is a great and beautiful book. I am a huge fan of Nigel Slater's cakes so I heartily recommend trying this. The coffee and walnut cake is next on my list.

Gemma x