Today I am going to use a phrase that I reserve for truly special cakes – Amazing! Make this cake. Do it, preferably soon. It’s that good!
I love Turkish food, although sadly I don’t eat as much of it as I would like. One of my favourite meals was a Turkish mezze plate, eaten in a small restaurant/takeaway in Berlin (in which Turkish food is the second most popular cuisine.) Sadly there is not as much opportunity to experience this where I live, so at the moment I am excitedly planning a trip to Istambul to get my fix.
When I started planning this cake, I started looking at baklava, particularly as this cake is an archetype of Turkish Cuisine. However, baklava (whilst delicious) is not in itself a cake, and therefore did not fit the brief as well as it could. I therefore decided to take the flavours of baklava and adapt them into a cake form. The filling was an easy decision, I love the combination of rose and pistachio, and Turkish delight seemed a natural partnership. I made this into cupcakes, as a good way to incorporate the filling equally, but you could also use this mixture to make a full size cake – just chop up the Turkish Delight, and mix into the cake batter before baking.
The Turkish delight in the cake was a stab in the dark, having no idea whether or not you could bake Turkish delight into a cake. It turns out that you can, and it actually does not change the taste at all. I cheated and used shop-bought (though good quality) Turkish delight, however, homemade would also work well if wished.
The cake recipe is a simple whisked sponge recipe, with ground pistachios substituted for part of the flour. The buttercream frosting is taken from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. The cakes are decorated with pomegranate seeds, both to support the Turkish influence and also because I think they look gorgeous! I also used gold shimmer spray, for no really reason apart from the excitement about spraying cupcakes gold…
Pistachio-Turkish Delight Cake with Rose Buttercream
- 8 oz plain flour
- 6 oz ground pistachios
- 12 oz butter
- 12 oz caster sugar
- 4.5 tsp baking powder
- 6 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
Turkish Delight Layer:
- 375g caster sugar
- juice of one lemon
- 25g gelatine powder
- 100g cornflower
- 25g icing sugar
- 2-3 tsp rosewater
- 50g shelled pistachios
- 2 drops red food colouring
- 250g icing sugar
- 80g unsalted butter
- 25ml whole milk
- 1 tsp rosewater
- 1 drop of red food colouring.
- Pomegranate seeds
Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and grease an 8″ cake tin. Set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar together before adding the eggs and vanilla essence. Mix in the flour, baking powder and ground pistachios. and combine gently. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before removing from the tin.
To make the Turkish delight, oil the same cake tin used for the cake (obviously after cleaning!) and line with cling film. Heat the sugar and lemon juice in a pan with 300ml of water until the sugar dissolves. At this point gently bring the mixture to the boil. Mix the gelatine with 75g of cornflour and 200ml of water before adding to the pan. Stir constantly to dissolve the gelatine, before simmering gently for 20 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes before adding the rosewater, food colouring and chopped pistachios. Mix the remaining cornflower and icing sugar and dust the prepared tin with the mixture, shaking out any of the excess. Pour the mixture into the tin and spread level, before allowing to set for at least 4 hours.
Make the buttercream by beating the icing sugar and butter on a low setting until well mixed. Add the milk and rosewater a little at a time, before adding the food colouring. Beat the mixture on high for at least 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
To construct the cake, firstly split the cake into three layers. Spread the first layer with butter cream before placing the second layer on top. Place the layer of Turkish delight onto the cake, using a small amount of buttercream to hold it in place if needed. Place the final layer of cake on top, and spread with the remaining buttercream. Decorate with pomegranate seeds, pistachios and Turkish delight.