Layered Up and Full of Pistachio

Final Pistachio Cake 2

10.20.15

It’s still Monday somewhere, right? Like on the other side of the world it is still Monday and I am not behind in creating this post for the week.  I’m sure that is completely incorrect, but the truth is I am behind. Life. It’s really there and sometimes it just doesn’t create enough hours in the day to accomplish all you want to get done. But let’s move on, because I really made something great this past week and it was beautiful and delicious.  A cake! A pistachio cake no less!

One of my closest friends, Wes, had a birthday of an undisclosed age on Sunday. His favorite flavor is pistachio, and I knew exactly what I was going to make. Because on my birthday earlier this year, two of my friends gave me the Momofuku Milk Bar recipe book, and inside it held a pistachio cake that dreams are made of. It included ingredients I’d never used (um, I need to buy..glucose??), but the end result was worth it. Those guys at Milk Bar really know what they’re doing. Along with this layered cake, I’m also featuring a layered autumn outfit, because NYC weather got real this past week.  Dipping into the 30’s at night at one point, brisk may be an understatement. Wes also wears a lot of gingham, so of course, I had to incorporate that. Very important.

This cake is no joke. And when everyone tastes it, no one will be laughing, because they’ll be too busy eating.

Also. This is a long post, because this cake takes many steps. But stick with me. Please. PLEASE.

For the Milk Crumbs (aka the whitest recipe there is)

MilkCrumbsIngredients

For the Lemon Curd

LemonCurdIngredients

For the Pistachio Cake

PistachioCakeIngredients

For the Pistachio Frosting

Pistachio Frosting Ingredients

I made this cake over the corse of a few days to make it easier on myself. Milk crumbs and lemon curd can easily be stored in the refrigerator so those were made days in advance. You need to make it all a little ahead of time anyway because it needs to freeze to set, and then then thaw before enjoying. It’s great in a way that you can just grab the cake and go, and not have to make it the morning of.

Thing I learned: Milk crumbs are STUPID good.  Wes and I renamed them DUMB CRUMBS because they’re so tasty it’s DUMB and we don’t understand why they’re not placed on top of everything.

I also used a different recipe for lemon curd, the one in the original recipe calls for gelatin, and Wes is vegetarian. 

Milk Crumbs
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup of milk powder (i.e. dry powdered milk, found at any grocery store)
  2. 1/4 cup flour
  3. 2 tbsp cornstarch
  4. 2 tbsp sugar
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 4 tbsp melted butter
  7. 3 oz white chocolate, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250
  2. Combine the 1/2 cup of milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt in bowl and toss with hands
  3. Add melted butter and toss with rubber spatula to combine gently so it starts to come together and form small crumbs
  4. Pour out onto parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes
  5. Allow to cool completely, and then toss with remainder of milk powder (1/4 cup) and the melted white chocolate
  6. Toss and make sure the white chocolate evenly covers crumbs, then retoss every 5 or so minutes until white chocolate hardens
  7. These can be stored in an airtight container for up to a month, and good luck not sneaking and eating a few every time you open the fridge
Notes
  1. *I actually had run out of salt and forgot to buy more when I made these, they still tasted like perfection
  2. *After they bake and cool, make sure to break up any absurdly large crumbs before tossing with milk powder and white chocolate
Domestic B(i)atch http://domesticbatch.com/

Lemon Curd
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Ingredients
  1. 3 Meyer Lemons (zested, and then used for juice)
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1/4 lb butter, room temperature
  4. 4 large eggs
  5. 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Zest your lemons and mix (I used a fork) thoroughly with sugar in a small bowl
  2. Cream butter in electric stand mixer with paddle attachment, and slowly add sugar and lemon zest mix
  3. Add eggs, one at a time to allow each to be fully combined, then add lemon juice
  4. Pour mixture into medium sauce pan and heat on low until it begins to thicken (about 10 minutes)
  5. Make sure to stir with wooden spoon through these ten minutes to avoid burning
  6. Once thickened, remove from heat and allow to cool before using immediately, or storing in airtight container and chilling in the fridge
Notes
  1. *I reduced the sugar content in this recipe for more of a lemon taste, and eliminated the salt because......I still hadn't bought more salt
  2. *Meyer lemons should always be used for baking when possible instead of standard lemons! They're sweeter with better flavor, where normal lemons are more tart and acidic
Domestic B(i)atch http://domesticbatch.com/
Pistachio Cake
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Ingredients
  1. 2/3 cup pistachio paste*
  2. 3 tbsp glucose**
  3. 6 egg whites
  4. 1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  5. 1 1/4 almond flour
  6. 1/2 cup pistachio oil
  7. 1/4 cup heavy cream
  8. 1 cup AP flour
  9. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  10. 1 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Combine pistachio paste and glucose in electric mixer with paddle attachment
  3. Add egg whites, approx one at a time and scrape down sides of bowl after every couple of egg whites
  4. On low speed, add confectioners sugar and almond flour, allow to fully incorporate. The batter will thicken, make sure to, once again, scrape down sides of the bowl
  5. Staying on low, slowly add pistachio oil and heavy cream, (AND SURPRISE!) scrape down sides of bowl
  6. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and mix on low until smooth
  7. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray, pour in batter, and bake for about 20 minutes. When you take it out it should be a little bouncy like a sponge when you touch it, and the sides of the cake should be golden and have pulled slightly away from the edges of the pan
  8. Allow to cool completely before using
Notes
  1. *You can find everything in NYC, except pistachio paste. However, I used Nuts.com and it was mailed to me in a day! If you make this cake, buy two cans to make sure you have enough for cake and frosting!
  2. **Glucose is so sticky and weird, but should be able to be found at any baking supply store
  3. When making this, the majority of the time this batter looks like someone emptied all of their snot into your bowl, that means you're making it right.
  4. Because there's so many egg whites in this recipe, the cake will double in size once baked!
Domestic B(i)atch http://domesticbatch.com/
 

Pistachio Frosting
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Ingredients
  1. 8 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  3. 3/4 cup pistachio paste
  4. 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment on medium, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  2. Switch to low, and add pistachio paste and salt, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix on high for about 2 minutes. The entire mixture should be a uniform pale green color
  3. Use immediately
Notes
  1. *I only bought one can of pistachio paste and this frosting was a little more buttery than pistachio-y because I ran out. It tasted fine but definitely get two cans of paste from Nuts.com for a more full flavor
Domestic B(i)atch http://domesticbatch.com/

 To Assemble:

 

  1. Using a 6 in cake ring, carefully stamp out two circles in the 9×13 pistachio cake, the scraps will be used for the bottom layer

  2. Wash your cake ring, and then place it on a sheet pan to hold the first layers of the cake

  3. Line the inside of the cake ring with acetate (found at any art or office supply store)

  4. Take the scraps around your two pistachio cake circles and place them in the cake ring, tampering down with your hand to create a collage of pistachio cake that make a solid first layer

  5. Using a small bowl of about 1/2 cup of pistachio oil, take a pastry brush and soak that layer in pistachio oil, making sure to cover all areas of the cake layer

  6. Spread a layer of lemon curd on pistachio bottom layer

  7. Sprinkle 1/3 of your milk crumbs onto lemon curd, and gently press down to hold them in place

  8. Spread pistachio frosting over milk crumbs 

  9. Take a second piece of acetate and carefully tuck it between the cake ring and first acetate piece, the entire thing should be about 6 in high to hold the whole cake, if it’s too high, just cut down with scissors

  10. Carefully place one of your pistachio cake circles (the less pretty of the two) on top of pistachio frosting

  11. Repeat steps 5-8

  12. Take your second pistachio cake circle and carefully nestle on top

  13. Spread remainder of pistachio frosting on top (make it look pretty) and then sprinkle remainder of milk crumbs to garnish

  14. Place sheet pan in freezer and freeze cake for at least 12 hours to set, remove from freezer and place in fridge at LEAST 3 hours before using

Once you remove it from the freezer, carefully remove acetate, and using your fingers and thumbs, lift the cake ring slightly, and pop the cake out of ring, it should come out rather easily.  Make sure all acetate is removed and then place in fridge to thaw.

I also recommend letting it sitting out for a good hour or so (unless it’s the heat of summer) to allow it to not be so cold when serving

This cake is a process, no lie, but it is so exciting to finish. None of the elements in this cake are difficult to make. It looks complicated, but it’s just patience. And once you start layering these pieces, and you see it all coming together and you realize you’re not a failure at at least one thing in your life, you fill up with a sort of pride at what you’ve created.  Challenging yourself is great, especially when you don’t screw it up AND it’s a successful gift for a friend!

MilkCrumbsLemonZest

Pistachio Cake 2

Pistachio Cake 3Pistachio OilPistachio Layer 2Pistacho Layer 3Complete Pistachio Cake

Final Pistachio Cake

 

So it’s cold, you’ve got to layer up? So how do you do it? I think trial and error and fearlessness are essential. I went with an earth tone palate and used the gingham dress as a base. Keeping in the same color scheme it allowed me to compliment light with dark and all still match. The scarf is a little rogue, but with black stripes in the plaid design I justified it because of the black gingham. A little too generous? Maybe.

Pistachio Outfit 3Pistachio Oufit 1Pistachio Outfit 6

New York got COLD this past weekend and so I really bundled up without going full winter.  This gingham dress is shorter than I thought…..but with the tights I felt a safer about it. And nothing keeps your toes warmer than thick socks over tights. I found this scarf at H&M last year and it’s thick and warm. I also got this tan jacket from Avenle (another one of my go to online shopping sites) on super sale and I’ve been wearing it through the fall as a great throw over for those days that are cool in the morning and night and warm up through the afternoon.

Pistachio Outfit 7

A few sans jacket. I also used a skinny belt to give some shape to the dress and duster together. Duster is a fun name for a piece of clothing, isn’t it? Duster. Fun.

Pistachio Outfit 10

Pistachio Outfit 11Pistachio Outfit 8Pistachio Outfit 12

Fun fact: I wore these earrings to work later that day and because my co worker was so annoyed with the earrings she was wearing (which were really cute), we switched and then decided to make the switch permanent.  So these earrings are in a better place with someone who really loves them. And this is also the beauty of getting earrings under 10 dollars, you don’t mind letting them go.

Pistachio Outfit 13

Forever 21 Gingham Dress / Ruche duster (similar) / H&M Scarf (similar) / Avenle Moto Jacket (ON SALE!!) / Forever 21 knee high socks

 

We all deserve a little treat.....share!
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