lime yoghurt and pistachio cake
Tue, 25 November, 2014
Lime yoghurt pistachio cake with lime and rosewater syrup drizzled all over it: I swear there isn't a better cake made with yoghurt. Or lime. Or pistachios.
Yoghurt cakes are simply gorgeous: they have the lightness of crumb that makes you feel like you're eating something super healthy and not at all calorific. In that way they are treacherous because it's so difficult to refuse another slice. And another. Oil used in the batter instead of butter makes it super-tender, so if you add a drizzle to the equation you get a gloriously dewy and soft product.
Yoghurt cakes are also famously easy – this particular example is what I call a bucket cake; you just throw everything into a bowl and mix a bit, not even too much. Not surprising that French children first learn to bake a simple yoghurt cake, at pre-school age because it’s easy and fun, measuring out the other ingredients using the yoghurt pot. That’s gâteau au yaourt for you, voilà! I’ve always thought French education system was far superior.
This, apart from yoghurt, is also a drizzle cake as mentioned above so it thoroughly embodies the characteristic described by the word I simply detest (not alone in it) and try very hard to replace with 'wet' or 'dewy'. The syrup need not be very syrupy; do not worry too much about reducing it to thicken and so on – it must make the cake WET. I used to boil it down far too much in the past until I saw my former boss and a baker extraordinaire slosh about a pint of lemony sugary water on her lemon cake, tilting the tin this way and that way to let it soak in better. And the result was astonishing. She didn’t even bother jabbing holes in it with a skewer. I guess there are the artists and there are the drones. I jab the holes.
The recipe is Rachel Allen’s from ‘Bake’. Pistachios are optional but they add value, and rose water is a must as it gives the drizzling syrup incredible flavour. And if you can get hold of those sugared rose petals, it will be a work of art, looking far more elaborate, intricate and skillful than it really is. Much more sophisticated than a French toddler could make.
lime yoghurt and pistachio cakeServings: 14-16Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- For the cake:
- 225g (1¾ cup) plain flour
- 2½ tsp baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- 75g (¾ cup) ground almonds
- 100g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 50g (½ cup) raw pistachios, chopped
- zest grated from 2 limes
- 2 eggs
- 50g (2 tbsp.) honey
- 250ml (1 cup) plain yoghurt
- 150ml (2/3 cup) vegetable oil
- For the syrup:
- 150ml (2/3 cup) water
- 100g (½ cup) caster sugar
- juice squeezed from 2 limes
- 1 tsp rose water
- preserved rose petals, to decorate (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Line a round 23cm (9in) tin with parchment, making sure it comes up above the rim – otherwise the syrup might leak out when drizzled on the cake if the tin has detachable bottom.
2. Mix the flour, the baking powder, salt, ground almonds, sugar, zest and half the chopped pistachios in a bowl. In a separate bowl or jug beat together the yoghurt, eggs, honey and oil. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and whisk together until just combined.
3. Pour into the tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Keep it in the tin and leave to cool for 15 minutes.
4. Prepare the syrup: boil the water and sugar for 5 minutes, then add the lime juice and boil for another 2 minutes. Take off the heat and add the rose water.
5. Jab the cake, still in the tin, with a skewer all over; the more holes the moister it will be. Then spoon the syrup over the surface. Sprinkle the remaining pistachios over the top, then sieve a bit of caster sugar over it. If you have some preserved rose petals, they will look beautiful on the cake.