How to make an utterly delicious frosted pistachio cake. Decorate the top with fresh berries and nuts, and even pretty edible flowers and this easy to make sponge cake becomes an absolute show-stopper of a cake with a super recipe from author and food and lifestyle writer Héloïse Brion of Miss Maggie’s Kitchen.
ACTIVE TIME: 25–30 minutes
COOKING TIME: 40–45 minutes
COOLING TIME: 25–30 minutes
CHILLING TIME: 15 minutes
For the cake
Butter and flour, for greasing
2 cups (9 oz./250 g) shelled pistachios
2¼ cups (10 oz./280 g) all-purpose flour
1 scant tbsp (11 g) baking powder
2 pinches baking soda
1 generous pinch fleur de sel (or salt)
1½ sticks (6 oz./180 g) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
¾ cup (5 oz./150 g) superfine sugar
⅔ cup (5¼ oz./150 g) brown sugar
4 egg whites
½ cup (4¼ oz./120 g) crème fraîche
1 tsp bitter almond extract
Scant 1 cup (240 ml) low-fat milk
For the frosting and decoration
1 cup (9 oz./250 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
7 tbsp (4 oz./110 g) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
3 cups (14 oz./400 g) confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar)
Shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
Assorted berries and fresh herbs
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C/Gas Mark 4). Grease a 9½-in. (24-cm) springform pan with butter and dust with flour.
Pulse the pistachios into fine crumbs using a food processor. Place in a mixing bowl and stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and fleur de sel until combined.
In a separate large bowl, beat together the butter, superfine sugar, and brown sugar. Using an electric beater, whisk in the egg whites one at a time, then whisk at high speed for 2–3 minutes until light and creamy. Stir in the crème fraîche and almond extract. Gradually fold in the dry ingredients. Stir in the milk.
Transfer the batter to the pan. Bake for 40–45 minutes, or until the tip of a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Transfer to a serving plate and let cool for 15–20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Stir together the cream cheese and butter until smooth, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Chill for about 15 minutes.
Spread a thick layer of frosting over the top of the cake and decorate as you wish with pistachios, berries, and herbs.
Kitchen Notes: The undecorated frosted cake can be stored for 2–3 days in the refrigerator; take it out about 30 minutes before serving and decorate.
Extracted from My Art of Entertaining: Recipes and Tips from Miss Maggie’s Kitchen by Héloïse Brion (Flammarion, 2022).
Photography © Christophe Roué 2022.