Who would have thought that there would be a ZILLION and one variations for a very basic cake that started out as a very simple recipe: 1 lb of flour, 1 lb of sugar, 1 lb of butter & 1 lb of eggs?
Most modern variations on the pound cake now include some kind of leavener, usually baking soda &/or baking powder, a flavoring component (vanilla/almond extract, citrus zest, chocolate seem to be the most common) & usually just a bit of salt. A number of recipes (most of my favorites), also include the addition of an additional liquid, usually milk or buttermilk, which in combination with a leavener makes for a much lighter cake & softer crumb.
So, while not a “traditional” pound cake recipe, I thought I would share a new recipe I’ve been working on that I hope you’ll love if you are a pistachio fan like me!
Pistachio Pound Cake
- 7 oz pistachio paste*
- 7 oz sugar (1 cup)
- 8 oz (2 sticks) butter at room temp.
- 4 large (or 5 medium) eggs at room temp.
- 4 1/4 oz pistachios (1 c)
- 5 oz flour (1 cup)
- 1/4 t baking soda
- pinch salt
- 1/2 c buttermilk at room temp.
- Non-stick baking spray (preferably Pam for Baking, or spray pan with regular non-stick spray & coat with a little extra flour)
- Stand mixer
- Food processor
- Large-mesh sifter (or whisk)
- 9″x5″ loaf pan
Preheat oven to 325°F (or 315°F if using convection oven**) & spray 9″x5″ loaf pan with non-stick baking spray and set aside.
In a food processor, finely grind the pistachios making sure to keep a close eye on them and not process too much or you will end up with pistachio butter! Sift (or whisk) the ground pistachios with the flour, baking soda & salt and set aside.
In a stand mixer, mix pistachio paste, sugar & butter until very light & fluffy (i.e. there are no lumps). Add eggs into pistachio paste mixture one at a time, fully incorporating each egg before adding another. Add flour and ground pistachio mixture to batter alternately with milk. Beat on low until just combined and smooth.
Place batter in prepared pan & bake for 75 minutes, or until tester inserted into the center pulls out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes & then remove from pan & cool on wire rack until cooled completely (seriously the waiting for the cake to cool is the HARDEST part of this whole recipe).
*Pistachio paste is notoriously difficult to find & usually expensive, but if you can afford it, it is definitely worth the investment! Like many other nut products, it keeps for a lot longer if you can keep it refrigerated, and has a one year shelf life. I source pistachio paste in 7 lb containers from American Almond, but you can also find smaller containers at various retailers online through Amazon.com.
**I really recommend using a non-convection style oven for baking loaf-style pound cakes, as they will generally produce that nice rounded, cracked top that you’ll see in any food stylist’s pound cake photographs, since the cake’s outer crust has a longer time to set up, and thus rise a little more in the middle. As you can see with this cake baked in my studio’s convection oven with the fan on (unfortunately not something I can turn off on my model), the cake bakes up nicely, but the top is more flat & gets a little “blown over” on one side, as the convection oven sets up the outer crust much more quickly. So while great for making cakes for stacking (where flat-topped=less waste), convection ovens are not generally the best for loaf-cakes. Guess it’s a good thing I am usually making cakes to stack and not loaves in my convection oven!