PISTACHIO & CARDAMON CAKE

Oh geez, I've been a little slow on updating recipes of late. A combination of holiday mode and busy working on new projects for 2015, but here we are, with a new recipe that is perfect for the holidays, especially if you're in the southern hemisphere and your kitchen is more hot than not at the moment.

Inspiration comes from the funniest places sometimes – sometimes a smell, or a conversation or a colour...and sometimes a new cake pan! My mum sent me a box of things she had been collecting for me over the years... A mortar and pestle (Yes!!), odd cutlery, linen cloths and these amazing loaf cake pans. Although I cook and bake all the time, I'm a woman of simple pleasures and simple things...I don't care much for gimmicky kitchen gadgets or too many of one thing. I only did have one loaf pan and it was low and wide and often made even the most delicate cake look frumpy and bread-like. These gifted pans have '$2' scribbled on the underside and are long and elegant and reminded me of the cakes you would find on marble benches at the windows of cake shops in Paris. 

This pistachio cake has a damp crumb and lasts well for a few days, so is perfect to take on a summer's picnic or keep in an air-tight container for afternoon tea. You can swap the cardamon for cinnamon or clove if you wish and similarly, the lemon for any other citrus. The batter was enough to fill two long pans, however a round or large loaf tin would be adequate for the mixture, perhaps just increase the cooking time 5 or so minutes. The topping is adapted from a recipe by the remarkable Ruth Rogers and late Rose Gray of The River Cafe, London. 

MAKES 1 LARGE OR 2 SMALLER CAKES

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 eggs

200g natural yoghurt

200g caster sugar

Zest of 1 lemon (juice reserved for topping)

1/2 tsp or pinch of cardamon, freshly ground

75g pistachio, ground

75g almonds, ground

150g self-raising flour, sifted

TOPPING

100g caster sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

75g pistachio, very roughly chopped


1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line your preferred tin and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, place oil, eggs, yoghurt, sugar, lemon zest and cardamon. Beat with a whisk until all combined.

3. Add ground nuts and flour and gently stir until combined. Pour into prepared tin and bake in pre-heated oven for approximately 35 minutes or until a skewer tested comes out clean. Set aside to cool briefly and remove from tin. 

4. For the topping, place all ingredients except for pistachios in a small saucepan and simmer on a low heat until a thick syrup forms. Remove from heat and stir in pistachios. Pour over warm cake and serve.