Recently I was at lunch at a friend’s – the energetic Mrs B! She made a beautiful lunch, the piece de resistance of which was a gorgeous orange and pistachio cake, based on a recipe from Philippa Grogran’s and Richard Cornish’s wonderful book Phillippa’s Home Baking. The link to the book is here.
The original recipe is for Lemon Pistachio Cake, but Mrs B made it with oranges. She also served the cake surrounded with orange slices.
Here’s my interpretation of Mrs B’s version of Phillippa’s cake! The photos are of the wonderful cake that Mrs B served.
40g unsalted pistachios
300g cultured butter – softened (cultured butter is readily available now in supermarkets)
240g caster sugar
4 free-range eggs
A pinch of salt
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
130g ground pistachios
90g ground almonds
40g arrowroot flour or cornflour
Finely grated zest & juice of 1 large orange
50g caster sugar
Orange slices, to serve.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Line the base of a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper.
Spread out the pistachios on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 8 minutes. Remove and rub in a clean tea towel to remove the skins, then roughly chop. Set aside until you make the syrup. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C/145°C fan-forced.
Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the salt, vanilla seeds and orange zest and mix well, then gently fold through the ground nuts and flour, a third at a time.
Pour the batter into the tin and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 1 hour 10 minutes – 1 hour 25 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and rest in the tin for 5 minutes before placing a plate over the tin and upturning the cake onto the plate. Gently peel off the lining paper from the bottom of the cake. Place another plate on the bottom of the cake and upturn the cake again so it is right-side up.
To make the syrup topping, place the orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 4 minutes or until slightly thickened and syrupy, but fresh and tangy in flavour. Stir in the chopped pistachios and orange zest, then spoon evenly over the cake while it is still warm.
Peel 3 oranges carefully, making sure you remove all the pith. Slice thinly, and surround the cake, spooning any remaining syrup over the orange slices.
This cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.