Pistachio and chocolate butter cake from Samantha Seneviratne

A post holiday gift to myself was the book the new sugar and spice - A RECIPE FOR BOLDER BAKING by Samantha Seneviratne.

Many of the recipes have caught my eye.  My first trial from the book, coffee cardamom shortbread, was a definite success.

Next up is the cover recipe for pistachio and chocolate butter cake, highlighting the use of pistachio paste, cardamom and chocolate chunks (and butter, of course).

The butter, eggs and milk should be at room temperature.

Butter a 9" springform pan and heat the oven to 350º.

Do your ingredient mise en place . . . .

les ingredients
and let's go!

Whisk 223 grams flour, 7 grams baking powder, one teaspoon freshly ground cardamom (hard to see, but it's there on the left side in with the flour) and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.

Cream 113 grams/1 stick room temperature, unsalted butter with 75 grams granulated sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add two eggs, one at a time, then blend in 198 grams pistachio paste.

Add the flour mixture alternately with 120 ml milk in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

Fold in 85 grams chopped dark chocolate (I used a mixture of 56% and 72%).

Put the batter into the springform pan and smooth.  Sprinkle 35 grams coarsely chopped pistachos over the top.

A very straight forward cake batter preparation.

ready for the oven

Bake for about 30-40 minutes.

just out of the oven

How did this work out?  Well, this is one case where it's important to pay attention to what's going on in your oven.

I baked this for a good 50-55 minutes since the center was still loose after the first 30-40 minutes.

At that point all the signs of doneness were there - a tester inserted in the center came out with moist crumbs, the top was nicely browned, there was no central jiggling when I lightly shook the pan, and it felt firm in the center.  Plus the aroma was enticing!

BUT!  Once this cake cooled it sank significantly in the middle and was still not thoroughly baked through in the center.  Disappointing.  You pay attention, you think it's done, but then . . . .

Perhaps the fact that my springform pan was sitting on an insulated cookie sheet kept the oven heat from getting properly into the center - who knows!

However, all was not lost.  I simply cut out the center goo, sliced the cake and served it with Samantha's roasted banana ice cream (see my next post!).  Pretty tasty indeed.

The cake is dense and buttery with a lovely cardamom-pistachio-chocolate thing going on.

If I were to do this recipe again, I would bake the cake in small flexi-molds or individual cake pans.  The baking time would be less, and the smaller portions would bake through more evenly.

Live and learn.  That's what it's all about.