'You are what you eat - avoid nuts!'
Yikes!!! Does this cake look suspiciously like it has come from Mars?? I assure you - most definitely not! Its very much from my oven, with me adding in a bit too much color, in an attempt to make my Pistachio Hot Milk Sponge look prettier. I am nuts about nuts and nothing like the above quote can make me stay away from them! I love to munch on them as a snack and in my desserts and cakes. The one thing I ask hubby to get for me when he travels is nuts. Cosmetics, gadgets and all the other 'phoren' things don't hold much appeal for me. Since he loves nuts too, hubby makes it a point to get them. How I love to stash(read hide) them in the freezer and keep thinking about what I can do with them. Pistachios are a particular favorite- don't ask me why! They are supposed to be the lower in calories and fat among nuts, making them a healthy snack. If you are not new to my space you have seen these in my Kulfi, Pistachio Chocolate Fudge and Eggless Pistachio Cookies. Yes, I really love them..
After having used gulp!!-able quantities of butter in my recent bakes, I wanted to bake a cake which did not need copious amounts of butter, a whole lot of planning, time and effort in it. This recipe has 2 tablespoons butter added to hot milk and then the mixture goes into to the cake batter. Rings a bell? The Butter Sponge which I baked earlier is a similar recipe, but with more butter and lots of egg yolk. Though this is a cake with low amount of fat in it, the taste and texture was quite good. Its also very easy to make, making it a good recipe for a beginner.
Adapted from a book called 'Perfect Baking At Home'. The recipe goes like this.
All Purpose Flour - 1 Cup
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
Sugar - 3/4 Cup ( I have used powdered sugar, please refer note)
Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
Eggs - 2
Milk - 1/2 cup
Pistachio essence - 3/4 teaspoon (refer note)
Chopped pistachios - 1/4 Cup
A tiny pinch of green food color (Refer note)
Procedure: Pre heat oven to 180 degrees C / 375 degrees F. Grease, line and lightly dust a 8'' round tin. Tap the tin to shake off any excess flour. Excess flour will give your cake a thick chewy crust.
Sieve the flour and baking powder twice. Keep aside.
Add a small pinch of flour to the chopped nuts, give a good shake to make sure the nuts are covered with flour. This helps avoid the nuts going to the bottom of the cake when you bake.
Heat the milk in a saucepan, add the butter to it. Cover to keep it hot.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs till thick. This is about 2 minutes on medium high speed with a hand mixer.
Add the sugar and beat for 5 minutes on medium speed. Gently fold in the flour mixture.
Add the essence and a little green food color to to the hot milk. (in case, the milk is no longer hot, heat it again). Stir it into the batter gently. Fold in the chopped nuts. The batter is neither thick nor thin.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Rap it gently against the kitchen counter. This settles the air bubbles and helps avoid a domed cake. Bake for 30 minutes or till a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tin on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the cake and transfer it to the rack. A neat way to do this would be to invert the cake onto a plate, re-invert on the rack. Cool completely.
Please Note :
Sugar: The original recipe has 1 cup of sugar. I have used 3/4 cup, the cake was just about sweet, I felt I could have added a tablespoon more.
Essence: Use good quality pistachio essence as a poor quality one can ruin the cake with an over-powering smell . You could of course use 1 teaspoon vanilla essence in place of pistachio as in the original recipe.
Color: If using gel paste, just a dip of a toothpick in the gel swirled into the milk should do the trick. Use a tiny drop of green color if using liquid color. The batter should look very very pale green. Anything more may give you a cake from Mars(like mine)!
This recipe makes quite a light textured cake, though not as light as the Butter Sponge. If you have just started baking, this one would be a good low fat tea cake for you to try.
This cake goes to Champa's Bake- Off