A couple of months ago I was looking for a cake to serve for Persian New Year that would have a slight Middle Eastern feel to it and came across this recipe from Nigel Slater which fit the bill perfectly. This is an amazing cake, moist and so flavourful with just a hint of the exotic from the subtle fragrance of the rosewater. The simple icing with its slight lemon tang is the perfect counterpart for the cake. Whilst the cake is quite dense, as it’s heavy on pistachios and almonds, it’s not overly sweet and can stand on its own as both a coffee cake or a dessert.
Ingredients Adapted from Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries
100g shelled pistachio nuts
100g ground almonds/almond flour
1 orange, zest and juice
1 teaspoon rosewater (I used 1 tablespoon as I wanted the rosewater to be a bit more prominent)
60g plain flour
Chopped shelled pistachio nuts to decorate – optional
For the icing:
100g icing sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease and line a 22cm or 23cm round cake tin. Place the pistachios in a mini food processor and blitz until finely ground.
Cream together the butter and sugar using a stand mixer or electric mixer until light and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the almonds and ground pistachios. Beat in the orange juice and zest and the rosewater, mixing only enough to combine. Fold in the flour using a metal spoon.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for around 50 minutes to an hour. Cover the top of the cake with foil after 40 minutes. The cake is ready when a metal skewer inserted into the centre come out mostly clean, with no big clumps of cake clinging to it. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for several minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. To make the icing, whisk together the lemon juice and icing sugar to form a paste. Pour this over the cooled cake and top with the some roughly chopped pistachios (if using) then wait for at least 30 minutes for the icing to set before slicing and serving.