Espresso and Cardamom Cake with Pistachios

 

What can I tell you? The combination of coffee and cardamom is a blessed one -utterly sublime. The sponge for this cake also manages to combine being unbelievably light with gorgeously luscious; and then there’s the topping, which is nothing short of luxurious. There’s a warm, very, very gentle spice to this cake which adds a touch of something richly exotic but ultimately…..it’s a great cake and dead easy to make!

What you need…

1 large baking sheet

1 x 20cm round baking tin, lightly buttered and lined on the bottom with Bake O Glide or parchment paper

50g shelled unsalted pistachios

Seeds from 10 green cardamom pods, ground to a fine powder (see tip)

115g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

115g butter, room temperature

2 large eggs

115g golden caster sugar

1 espresso coffee, cooled

for the syrup

1 espresso coffee, freshly made and still hot

Seeds from 10 green cardamom pods, ground to a fine powder

1 tablespoon Demerara sugar

for the topping

250g mascarpone

1 espresso coffee, cooled

1 tablespoon golden caster sugar

1 tablespoon milk

50g shelled pistachios

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 170°c / 325°f / gas 3.

Lay out all the pistachios onto your baking sheet and pop into the oven for 8 minutes to roast. Remove and divide into 2 halves of 50g each. Chop 50g finely. Leave the other half of nuts whole to decorate the top of the cake.

Into your food processor tip the flour and baking powder. Whizz to mix together. Add the butter, eggs, caster sugar, espresso and seeds from 10 cardamom pods. Whizz until smooth and creamy.

Fold in the 50g chopped nuts and when evenly incorporated, tip the mixture into your baking tin. Pop into the oven and bake for 25 minutes. To test if the sponge is cooked, press the centre lightly with your little finger – it should spring back.

Whilst the cake is cooking, make the syrup by putting all the ingredients into a jug and use a balloon whisk to beat until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.

To make the topping, put all the ingredients except the nuts, into a bowl and use a handheld electric whisk to beat together until a fluffy consistency that will be easy to spread. Cover with cling film and keep in the fridge until needed.

Once the cake is out of the oven, prick all over with a skewer and then sprinkle the syrup evenly over the top. Leave in the tin to cool completely.

When you’re ready to serve, transfer the cake from the baking tin onto a pretty serving plate. Pile on the topping spread evenly. Take a palette knife around the edge if you want a neat finish. Sprinkle the pistachios over the top. Voila! It’s done. Serve with a freshly made espresso and perhaps a little coffee liqueur on the side. Absolutely delightful and delectably different from your usual sponge cake!

Tip…

To extract the seeds from cardamom pods, bash them a bit using a pestle in a mortar (or in a small zip-lock bag and a rolling pin). Open up the pods and push out the seeds with a teaspoon.

Inspired by…

Delia Smith

How easy…

Really easy – just the way I like ‘em!

 

 

 

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