Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Cake Fit For A Queen!

Queen Mom That Is...

Two of my mom's favorite things are chocolate and pistashio nuts. I remember when I was a little girl, whenever she would bring me and my sister out for ice cream she would always get pistashio or chocolate. One or the other; the other fancy flavors never even tempted her. She knew what she wanted and was satisfied with the simplicity of each flavor on it's own. Although I wonder if she would have been tempted if they had chocolate-pistashio ice cream. I think so. And so I was inspired to make this combination in a cake...just for mom on Mother's Day!

This is a rich, moist and tender chocolate cake, studded with whole pistashio nuts. The middle of the cake is filled with a pistashio cream cheese pudding, that surprises and delights everyone when they see it and taste it. The deliciously rich pistashio butter cream frosting is made with pistashio paste and butter.
*Since pistashio paste is not the easiest thing to find or the most cost effective, you could also frost the cake with chocolate frosting. I've listed both recipes.

Chocolate-Pistashio Surprise Cake
by Mixed Salad Annie

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 cup freshly brewed strong black coffee (OR) 2 heaping teaspoons instant coffee in 1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup shelled pistashio nuts, plus more for garnish
Pistashio cream pudding filling, recipe follows
Pistashio butter cream frosting, recipe follows
Creamy chocolate frosting, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lighty butter two 9-inch round baking pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper, then butter and flour them. Shake out the excess flour and set aside.

Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir to combine. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Slowly add the wet mixture while mixing at low speed. Add the hot coffee slowly with the mixer still on low speed. Mix until combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and then pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Evenly distribute nuts on top of batter in each pan. Gently push nuts into batter with a toothpick.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 25 minutes in pans; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. ******Continue below.

Pistashio Cream Cheese Pudding Filling

1 box instant pistashio pudding mix
1 (8 0unce) package 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 3/4 cups low-fat milk
1 cup boiling water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/8 cup sugar

Line a 9 inch cake pan with plastic wrap, overlapping on all sides. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat pudding mix into the cold milk for 2 minutes with a whisk. Set aside.
In a small bowl mix gelatin and sugar; add boiling water and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes.
In another bowl, beat cream cheese and vanilla with a hand mixer until smooth. Slowly beat in 1/2 of the gelatin mixture. Discard the remaining gelatin. Add the reserved pistashio pudding and mix well.
Pour into prepared pan and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

Pistashio Butter Cream Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
½ cup pistachio nut paste
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 3 tablespoons milk

Cream together the butter and pistachio paste. Alternately add sugar and milk until smooth and creamy. Blend in the vanilla.

(OR an excellent alternative frosting...)Creamy Chocolate Frosting

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
2/3 cup Cocoa
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, until creamy and spreadable. Adding small amounts of additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.

Lifting the plasic from the sides of the pan, remove the set pistashio cream pudding filling from the pan. Place 1 layer of cake, flat side up, on a plate or cake stand. Gently and quickly flip over and place the pistashio filling on top of the cake. Remove plastic wrap. With a knife, carefully trim the edges of the filling that overhang the cake. Place the second cake layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the desired frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Garish with extra pistashio nuts and melted chocolate if desired.
10 to 12 servings.


Swati said...

Simply delicious!! Love the addition of pistachios!!

Emily said...

Oh, gosh. I can't tell you have much I love chocolate and pistachio together. That looks crazy good!