Monday, March 15, 2010

Heavenly Cake Bakers: Sicilian Pistachio Cake

That elegant cake? In the bakery case? Oh yes, that was me.

This week's heavenly cake was a soft buttery sour cream cake, filled with finely processed pistachios (from California, I admit). Made in a single layer, it was rich but not to excess, more austere than towering Magnolia-style cakes.
I never say this, but the cake was good and the frosting was better--an egg yolk swiss meringue, with golden syrup replacing corn syrup in the sugar solution. I avoided golden syrup for many years (not hard to do in the USA), because it seemed to me it would just taste sweet, with no nuance. I ultimately found out how wrong I was, it's robust without being cloying, almost salty in its hint of good good caramel. In fact, it's one of the only other syrups in the world that I don't think people are insane for putting on pancakes (let us not speak of Aunt Jemima here). I messed up the timing of the buttercream a bit, and it wound up with some chunks of chewy caramel embedded in the otherwise smooth cream, so when I wrote up the card, I called it a Pistachio Brickle Cake, and no one was the wiser (the little chunks were tasty).

The cake was a big hit with Lily and the bakery's customers, and by this morning was reduced to a few small squares put out for tasting. I forgot to bring the camera while I was making the cake, which was a pretty quick process, and so only have this stolen picture, but I promise process shots next week. Meanwhile, this could easily be my new birthday cake, if strawberry shortcake weren't so so persuasive. And doesn't it look pretty in that case, next to all of Lily's lovely cookies.


Vicki said...

You sold slices of your's? I gave half away to my daughter's horse trainer! Definitely like your idea better. Couldn't agree with you more about maple and golden syrup. Nothing like the real thing.

Jenn said...

Katya, welcome to the forum. How do you manage to sell the cake?

Katya said...

Vicki & Jenn-
I am able to sell some of these cakes because I bake bread for a lovely bakery (, and the proprietor has generously agreed to let me bake the odd Heavenly Cake there as well, and then to put it on sale as a special. If any of them really take off, they may be added to the bakery's regular rotation.

So, in point of fact, I don't sell the cake, the bakery does, and because I bake at their facility using their ingredients (on the understanding that I bring any specialty ingredients), I receive only a small percentage of of the sales amount, and would in fact be happy enough to receive nothing in return for the privilege of using the professional kitchen and ingredients, and having the chance to test my product on such a wide audience.

evil cake lady said...

Your cake does indeed look very lovely in the bakery case next to those yummy looking butter cookies. I have dreamt of taking my cakes to the coffee shop down the street and imploring them to sell it for me, so that I stop eating it!

HanaĆ¢ said...

The cake looks great. No wonder people bought it. Must be fun to live close to your bakery. Never know what kind of yumminess to expect :o)

Btw, those cookies to the left of the cake, with the jam in the middle, remind me of my childhood fav cookie back in Europe. What's your name for them? I would love to have the recipe for that... :o)

Unknown said...

Oh man, I jealous, you ge tot bake in a professional kitchen... let me rub off you!

We had similar experiences with the buttercream.. that syrup can be a pesky little thing eh?

But it looks great on the bakery case. Nothing like getting validation from actual goodness clients!


Lois B said...

What a wonderful arrangement! Your cake looks fantastic!

Unknown said...

This cake sound wonderfull. I have the recepie. I decided to put together the cake but I had a problem. The recepie on the web calls for 2 cups of cake flour. But when I sift and measure (swept toped the cup of couse) the flour weights nearly 300 grs. But my old cake bible says 2 cups is 200 grs.
what shall I do? Two cups or 200 gr? since you have already sucessfully baked it can you help me on this.

I have another question if you do not have sour cream but cream and milk and lemon can you substitude with half cream and half milk and a teaspoon lemon juice?

Katya said...

Merve, I weighed the flour according to Rose's measurements, and that worked fine. I think you could make that substitution, just give the milk/lemon mixture a little time to sour. Also, the same weight of milk to sour cream will be a little thinner, so allow for that.

Alpha Baker Joan said...

Very pretty cake. What a great opportunity to hone youor techniques!