Pistachio~Rose Cake: Pistachio Cake with Pistachio and Rose Buttercream

 

I think everyone knows my obsession now with rose flavored desserts, and pistachio and rose are like BFF’s. Since I had some rose buttercream leftover from my macarons it gave me an idea to come up with a recipe for pistachio and rose cake. I still ended up making buttercream since my leftovers weren’t enough but no bother it was a good excuse to make a layer cake. A word to the wise since pistachios are a bit expensive- make sure you buy them from a purveyor who’s supply is quickly turned over and store them if not using right away in the freezer. I had bought some a while back (even stored them right away in the freezer) but when I thawed them they were rancid. It was from a bulk bin of nuts so I think they sat there a while. Anywho…I digress. This cake turned out to be one of my absolute favorites of all time. It kind of reminds me of the preppy pink and green from the 80’s. Muffy and Biff would be proud. I admit I bumped up the color of the cake with a bit of mint green gel food color just because I found it added that extra pretty preppy punch from being nicely dressed to va va voom.

 

Pistachio Cake, Rose~Pistachio Buttercream

Pistachio Cake 

yield: 8 inch 3 layer cake or ~ 24 cupcakes

 

3 Tbsp. Confectioners sugar

1 C + 2 Tbsp. unshelled pistachio pieces (I get mine from Trader Joes)

3 Cups all purpose flour

1 Tbsp. + 1  1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1  1/2 C sugar

1 Cup + 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp

4 1/2 large eggs

1 Cup + 2 Tbsp. whole milk, room temp

1  1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 tsp. pure almond extract

mint green gel food coloring (optional)

 

 

In a food processor place the confectioners sugar and the pistachios and grind/pulse until finely chopped with some nuts being ground into a coarse powder. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Prepare 3 eight inch cake pans with baking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray lightly again. Note: If you only have 2 pans, you may bake the third one separately after allow the pans to cool.

In a separate bowl place the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir to combine well. Set aside.

Cream the sugar and the butter until soft and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat on medium speed until combined. Note: mixture will look somewhat curdled (don’t worry-mixture will come together). Add in half of the flour mixture on medium speed, stopping to scrape down the mixer bowl as needed. In a glass measuring cup mix the extracts with the milk. With the mixer running, stream in the milk and beat on low speed until combined. Add in the last half of the flour mixture and beat until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl to combine everything well. Add in the ground nut mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until combined. Divide the batter evenly among the 3 pans. Bake in preheated oven for ~ 24 minutes or until the cake has a few moist crumbs when pierced with a wooden skewer, or when pressed lightly the cake springs back. Allow the cakes to cool on a wire rack until cool.

Pistachio Sugar Syrup (optional)

1 Cup water

1 Cup sugar

4 drops Pistachio flavored concentrated essential oil for baking (such as Lorann brand) (found in cake supply stores)

Boil the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves, then allow the mixture to cool for 15 minutes and add in the drops of the pistachio flavored oil.

Pistachio Paste

1/2  Cup shelled unsalted & roasted pistachio nuts

6 Tbsp.  sugar

1 1/2  Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. pistachio oil (or vegetable oil)

1. Prepare a sheet pan with either a Silpat or by lightly greasing with vegetable oil.

2. Pour the water in a saucepan and then add the sugar. With a clean finger mix the sugar and water until it looks like wet sand. Have a cup of water with a clean pastry brush placed in the cup.  Bring the sugar to a boil stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once sugar dissolves-stop stirring. If sugar crystals form along the sides of the pan; use the wet pastry brush to let water drip down to dissolve the crystals. Continue to cook until the mixture comes to a light caramel color. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the nuts. Return to the heat and cook until comes to a medium amber color. Working quickly- pour the nut mixture onto prepared pan and with a heat proof spatula do your best to flatten out nuts. Allow the nuts to cool until they become hard.

3. Once mixture is hard and completely cooled- use your hands to break apart any large clumps. Place the mixture in a food processor and pulse several times to initially break up the mixture. Proceed to process the mixture until it starts to form a thick paste. When the blade no longer seems to move add the oil and continue to process until as smooth as possible. Leftover should be stored in an airtight container in the freezer.

Buttercream

5 egg whites

1  1/2 Cups sugar

4 sticks unsalted butter, cool but not cold

2 tsp. vanilla

2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. pistachio paste

1/4 + 1/8 tsp. Rose water (I like Nielsen Massey brand)

mint green gel food color

deep pink gel food color

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine egg whites and sugar. Set over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until mixture is hot and sugar is dissolved. Remove bowl and place on mixer and beat until stiff meringue forms and bottom of mixer bowl is cool to touch; about 5 minutes. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time until all is incorporated. Add vanilla,  then beat until smooth. Divide buttercream evenly into two bowls.

To one bowl add the pistachio paste and mix well with a spoon or spatula. Add in a tiny bit of mint green gel color using a toothpick, and stir to combine. Add more a little at a time until desired color is achieved.

In the other bowl add the rose water and stir to combine. Add in the deep pink gel color using a toothpick, and stir  evenly to combine until desired color is achieved.

If using the simple syrup: brush each cake liberally with the syrup and allow to seep into the cake a while before stacking and assembling the cake.

Fill a piping bag with each pistachio buttercream and rose buttercream side by side. Using a spiral technique pipe a layer of buttercream over the surface of cake round and stack the next round of cake on top. Continue til all three are stacked. Pipe rows of alternating flavored buttercream onto sides and top of cake and smooth as necessary to create a two toned affect.

 


Mini Rose Cupcakes With Sugared Rose Petals

rose cupcake with vanilla bc and sugared rose petalrose cupcake

This is my new favorite way to bake mini cupcakes-in “party cups”. The cake does not stick and they push right out- no peeling of paper needed. Perfect for a party! I was in one of those girly, pretty in pink kind of moods today, so decided to make mini rose cupcakes. You can pair the cupcakes with either pistachio buttercream or vanilla buttercream, but they are especially pretty with sugared rose petals.  I chose to divide the vanilla buttercream and tint half of it with rose pink. Pistachio and rose is a classic combination-made popular by middle eastern and certain cultures. If you use rose flavor- just make sure to use a subtle amount because they flavor can turn soapy tasting if too heavy.

rose cupcakes with pistachio bc and rose petals

rose cupcakes with pistachio buttercream and sugared rose petals

 

Rose Cupcakes

(yield: 24-28 mini cupcakes)

1  1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp. Cake flour

1  1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 Cup sugar

3 (Lg,) egg whites (room temp)

1 tsp. vanilla

2  tsp. rose water (make sure to use rose water and NOT extract)

1/2 Cup milk (room temp)

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Prepare mini muffin tins with paper liners or use “party cups” as I have done here. If you use party cups you simply place them on a sheet pan; no other prep is needed.  In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; about 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium low speed, add the egg whites one at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix until combined. Mix in the vanilla and rose water. Starting with the flour mixture add 1/3 of the mixture alternating with the milk in two additions, ending with the flour mixture. Note: if you desire you can add a little pink gel food coloring paste if you want a pink colored cake.

2. Fill the cups or tins 2/3 full with batter. The batter really rises, so resist the urge to fill them further. Bake in a preheated oven at 350° F for about 10-12 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean or if you press on them lightly the cake springs back.  The cakes will not brown. Frost  cooled cupcakes with either Pistachio Buttercream (recipe below) or Vanilla Buttercream, decorate with optional sugared rose petals.

Pistachio Paste

1 Cup shelled unsalted & roasted pistachio nuts

3/4 Cup sugar

3 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. pistachio oil (or vegetable oil)

1. Prepare a sheet pan with either a Silpat or by lightly greasing with vegetable oil.

2. Pour the water in a saucepan and then add the sugar. With a clean finger mix the sugar and water until it looks like wet sand. Have a cup of water with a clean pastry brush placed in the cup.  Bring the sugar to a boil stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once sugar dissolves-stop stirring. If sugar crystals form along the sides of the pan; use the wet pastry brush to let water drip down to dissolve the crystals. Continue to cook until the mixture comes to a light caramel color. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the nuts. Return to the heat and cook until comes to a medium amber color. Working quickly- pour the nut mixture onto prepared pan and with a heat proof spatula do your best to flatten out nuts. Allow the nuts to cool until they become hard.

3. Once mixture is hard and completely cooled- use your hands to break apart any large clumps. Place the mixture in a food processor and pulse several times to initially break up the mixture. Proceed to process the mixture until it starts to form a thick paste. When the blade no longer seems to move add the oil and continue to process until as smooth as possible.

Swiss Meringue Vanilla Buttercream

4 large egg whites

1 Cup sugar

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temp

2 tsp. vanilla

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the eggs whites and sugar and place over a pot with simmering water. Whisk the egg whites and sugar and heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is about 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer* (*alternatively- you can feel the mixture with your first two fingers and if you don’t feel any sugar granules then it is ok). Turn off the heat. Attach the mixer bowl onto the mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk the mixture on medium until the bottom of the bowl is almost cool to the touch and the mixture has turned into a nice stiff meringue.  This will take several minutes. With the mixer on medium high, add the softened butter one tablespoon at a time and continue to mix until all the butter is incorporated and the mixture is smooth. It will go through a curdled looking stage as it mixes; but don’t worry keep adding the butter and it will come together. Add in the vanilla and mix to combine.

For Pistachio Buttercream: Mix in 4-5 Tbsp. Pistachio paste (recipe above) and 1-2 drops of “Mint Green” colored gel paste

For PInk/White Vanilla Two toned Buttercream: Divide buttercream into two equal portions. Tint one half with 3-5 drops “Deep Pink Rose” colored gel paste- mix well to combine. Prepare a large piping bag by standing it upright in a tall glass fitted with chosen piping tip (such as star tip). Place one color down inside of the pastry bag and the other color down the other side; make sure to get the buttercream down all the way to the tip. I find it helpful to place each color inside a disposable pastry bag and squeezing each color down inside the bag.

For sugared rose petals: Place a small amount of liquid pasteurized egg whites (such as 100 % liquid egg whites) in a bowl. Have your organic (non pesticide) rose petals already cleaned and dried. Using a soft clean brush- brush each rose petal (front and back) and then sprinkle with fine granulated sugar. Place petals inside a mini muffin tin to dry. This is best done the day before you assemble your cupcakes- as it takes them several hours to dry completely.

Note: any leftover buttercream may be frozen in an airtight container. To use from frozen; allow buttercream to thaw at room temperature, then rewhip using the whisk attachment.