Deliciously light pistachio & lemon cake with white chocolate sour cream icing.
People often ask me why I bake (why I cook as well but, well, I like to and need to eat so that’s easily answered). But baking is different. Yes, of course I like to eat baked goods. There are very few people on earth (if any) who don’t. But baking awakens something inside me. I always say that baking makes me feel like a true domestic goddess. You see, I loathe all other domestic duties, other than shopping and cooking.
I can clean if I’m forced but I truly hate every second of it. I can wash and iron clothes but never, ever do it with any enthusiasm and of needlework and sewing I know about as much as I do of quantum physics. But baking, although a science, is relatively easy and accessible. The outcome (if successful) is always delightful and gives pleasure to all of those lucky enough to be in the vicinity. Baking brings joy, and joy is something I want plenty of in my life.
The idea for this cake came to me when I had a packet of pistachios in the house one day and I couldn’t think of anything to do with them, except to sit cross-legged on the couch and eat them as is. At that same time I was paging through my book (as one does) and saw the recipe for my lemon-yoghurt mini loaves which is one of my favourite cake recipes, ever. I love the simplicity of it and I am obsessed with the incredible flavour of it. I decided to add some ground pistachios to the batter which resulted in this stunner of a cake.
The pistachios of course add a lovely hue of green to the cake but it also imparts a delicate nuttiness which is just so lovely. It also adds a little texture as I didn’t grind them too fine. The cake is very moist with a soft crumb and the lemon zest adds just the right amount of kick to keep things interesting. The cake could be served as is but I really wanted something creamy on top and so decided to make the simplest of icings.
I mixed a slab of melted white chocolate with a tub of sour cream until shiny and smooth and dolloped this onto the cake. This adds a velvety smooth element to the cake and the acidity of the sour cream cuts through the sweetness of the cake. I finished the cake off with thick strips of lemon zest and I can tell you with all honesty that this is just divine. Perfect for afternoon tea or for eating while sitting on the couch after the kids have gone to bed (well it is for me anyway).
- 200 g cake flour all purpose
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 200 g caster sugar
- 1 cup 250ml plain yoghurt
- 1/2 cup 125ml canola oil
- 3 extra-large eggs
- zest of 1 lemon
- 100 g pistachios shelled and finely chopped/ground
for the icing
- 100 g white chocolate chopped
- 250 ml sour cream/Crème fraîche
- lemon zest to serve
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and line a 20cm deep cake pan with baking paper.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, salt & sugar into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Combine the yoghurt, oil, eggs and lemon zest in a jug and mix well.
- Pour the yoghurt and oil mixture into the flour and mix well.
- Fold in the ground pistachios.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in the pre-heated oven.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan.
- To make the icing, combine the melted chocolate with the sour cream and mix well until the icing is smooth.
- When the cake is cool, dollop the icing on top and decorate with lemon zest.