Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Adventures & Pistachio Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

And we are back to the little things...the things that can make everyday a little bit more exciting.  This past weekend, well really the past week really, has been wonderful because of the little sometimes everyday things.  Like getting to have lunch with a friend when lunch is normally eaten at my desk.  Going to a concert after work with friends on a Thursday instead of going and working out again.  

Going for an early morning run Friday and finding a few words of encouragement along the way...

Not as small, but getting to spend my birthday weekend away with my husband(still weird to say sometimes) in one of my favorite cities...New York.

Having late night hot dogs at Gray's Papaya followed by a late night walk through Central Park.

Then going for a run the next morning to find the best birthday present New York could give me...a closed Park Avenue for Summer Streets.

Definitely one of the coolest things I have experienced this summer.

Then getting to checkout some simply amazing gowns at The Met, although there was nothing simple about them.  I could only ever dream of wearing a gown this beautiful.

Plus, views as great as this from the hotel room.

And a birthday dinner of pork belly ramen that I wish I could be eating again right now from Momofuku Noodle Bar!

Oh and late night dessert from Milk Bar.

Oh New York...

Before we went away there some midweek cake baking.  This cake was inspired by a friend who said one of her coworkers made an awesome pistachio cake one time for her birthday. Boy am I glad she told me about that cake.  This cake was some how almost soft in texture. It was so light with a delicious vanilla flavor and just a hint of pistachio.  The texture was what I dream all of my vanilla cakes texture would be.  Then top it off with a smooth honey cream cheese frosting and a few chopped pistachios for texture.  I am not even a huge pistachio fan and even I had to have a couple small pieces of this cake.  Definitely a cake worth trying...Enjoy!

A view from the top

Another naked, but trust me this cake is so moist the sides don't need to be frosted.

A look inside

Pistachio Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 cup shelled pistachios
2 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
3/4 cold skim milk
3/4 cold water
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter (3/4 cup), softened
8 oz, 1/3-fat cream cheese, softened
4-5 tablespoons honey (I used Tupelo honey)
4-6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup pistachios toasted & chopped

1.  Preheat the oven to 325. Grease and line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper.

2.  In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pistachio meat until it is coarsely chopped. Remove 2 tbsp to a small bowl. Pulse the remaining pistachios until they have almost a powder-like consistency. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk together with the all purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter in the stand mixer for 3 minutes. Add in the sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add in the egg and mix until just combined.

4.  Turn the mixer to low. Pour the skim milk and ice water into a measuring cup. Add the flour/pistachio mix to the batter in three additions, alternating with the ice water, mixing each time until just combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low speed for a few more seconds.

5.  In a medium, clean bowl whisk together the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Fold the egg whites into the batter, one half at a time.

6.  Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Flip the cakes out of the pans, onto the rack and let cool completely before frosting. Remove parchment paper from the bottoms.

7.  For the buttercream, in a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese.  Mix in the honey until well combined.  Starting on a lower speed, mix in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time until frosting had reached desired consistency.  It will be thick!  

8. To assemble the cake, chose which layer will be the bottom.  Place it on a cake plate at then using a knife or cake leveler, remove the doomed part of the cake so the next layer can lay flat.  Then top that layer with about half of the frosting. and about 1/4 cup of the chopped pistachios.  You decide here if you want the cake to be flat on top or rounded.  If you want it flat, level the cake like you did the previous layer.  Then place on top of the bottom layer, frost the top only with the remaining butter cream and decorate the top with remaining chopped pistachios.  Serve at room temperature and Enjoy!

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